Friday, July 15, 2011
A runaway train must be an incredibly dangerous and scary thing. Think about it, tens of thousands of pounds of out of control steel, wood, and pure grit racing away at uncontrollable speeds down a narrow track. The train conductor has little hope to get the train under control unless he can apply the faulted brakes. Every sharp turn could hurl the train off the track sending it to pending doom. Every intersection could bring death and injury to innocent bystanders; the train’s passengers are all at risk of the same fate as well.
If only the conductor could somehow get the brakes to operate properly, then the train will start to slow down and will eventually come to a stop. But we're talking about tens of thousands of pounds traveling at a high rate of speed, even if the brakes are applied, it will take time and distance before the train is at a safe, controllable speed. And it will take even more time and distance before the train comes to a complete stop and the passengers can safely unload and the bystanders that are next to the track are completely out of harm’s way.
Just like a runaway train takes time and distance to stop, selfishness too is a hard thing to stop once it gets rolling and it’s even harder to stop when it is traveling at a high rate of speed. The selfishness in my life was/is like a runaway train. Although I have managed to apply the brakes, it is taking time and distance to bring my selfishness to a complete stop. Sadly, the runaway train of my selfishness has caused harm and heartache to those closest to me, the innocent bystanders, the passengers that were expecting a safe journey.
True, the brakes have been applied and my selfishness is slowing down and I am confident the brakes will bring the selfishness to a complete stop. But there are still bystanders that suffer while the train is still rolling . . .
Just last night, I had the opportunity to reach out to no less than three people to join me for Night of Worship at Buckhead Church, yet my selfishness prevented me from doing so.
I could have invited my friend Mike, who is also going through the same life event as me, who often spends time alone, or he too, like me, finds something to fill his time with to distract from the pain of our similar life events. My excuse for not reaching out to him was that by the time I thought about calling him, I had already passed his house, by like ten minutes. Ten minutes, that’s it. He could have benefited from the wonderful Night of Worship just as I did. But I allowed ten minutes to keep me from calling him.
I could have called Jill or Angie or both of them. After all, they live in the same apartment building, on the same floor, heck they live so close together they’re like roomies. Anyhow, they are literally on my way, not out of my way at all, would have possibly been a 5 minute inconvenience. Either one of them would have benefited from Night of Worship. And to top it off, I thought about calling them way before I passed their complex.
Just a few of the many thoughts that went through my head on why NOT to call were:
They will probably say no.
It will take them forever to get ready.
They won’t want to sit where I want to sit once we get there.
They might want to go to dinner after and then we will have to decide on a place to eat.
Maybe I won’t find parking in their complex.
All horribly selfish excuses to not extend the courtesy of an invite . . .
Oh, and did I mention this, I was getting to the church an hour early to get a good seat . . . yes, an hour friggin’ early. There is absolutely no excuse for my selfish behavior.
All I can say is; God is working on me. I am recognizing my selfishness for what it really is and I am seeing all of the facets that selfishness displays. The Holy Spirit is convicting me and for that I am grateful.
The Holy Spirit is the brake for my runaway train of selfishness. This train has been moving so fast for so long, it’s just going to take time and distance for the train to stop. But it will stop. In the meantime, I am extremely sorry for the ones that get hurt or miss out on an opportunity because of it.
I want to fulfill the Five POTSC Character Traits.
I’ll get there!