See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
– Ephesians 5:15-17
The weather was unbearably hot, and I was on my way to the grocery store for milk when I saw him, walking with strength and confidence in his stride. He was wearing a black apron… the same black apron they wear at the grocery store to which I was going. I didn’t really think about it when I pulled over and waited for him to walk past the van.
“Do you work at Winn Dixie?”
“No ma’am. I am walking to my friend’s house so he can give me a ride to work at Steak & Shake.”
“Well, it’s much too hot to be walking. Would you like a ride?”
The only other time I had offered a person a ride, it had been a lady and Bill was with me. Both of us were shocked that we had been so brave, and I had promised him that I would never offer a ride to a stranger without him with me. I actually told this to the young man in my passenger seat.
“But, you look relatively harmless,” I admitted. He gave a nervous chuckle. Then, we chatted about the recent holiday, his work, and his mother.
What was the big deal anyway? I knew other people would flip out when I told them… if I told them… that I (a white woman) had given a ride to a young, black man. But, I didn’t see him as a color. I didn’t consider him a danger. These thoughts did not even register in my brain. I just saw a human in need.
A few days later, a friend expressed her concern. “You can never be too careful… It’s a real shame that in this day in time, you don’t know if the person sitting next to you at a red light is packing a gun and is about to shoot into your car. I wish things weren’t that way and we can only pray to God that things get better.”
Yes, the days are filled with evil…
A couple of days ago a man opened fire in a movie theater in Colorado.
A week ago a man opened fire in a sports bar just off campus from the University of Alabama.
Two weeks ago a local man got out of car to shoot and kill a woman because she yelled at him to slow down on the street where young children play.
A month ago a man was arrested for coming into a local church heavily armed with multiple semi-automatic weapons.
And… just a few days ago… someone placed a pipe bomb in the mailbox of an elderly lady not two miles from my home. (Thank goodness the bomb did not detonate.)
What’s my point?
… you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
– James 4:14
The days are evil… but I am not going to stick my head in the sand and merely pray that things will change. I don’t want to wrap myself in caution tape and hide in a corner.
I am completely aware that my life is short and I am going to use every day that I can to share the love of Jesus with people because let’s be honest… I am just as likely to die in a movie theater, to die in church, to die checking my mail as I could die in an automobile accident. Who is to say that if I keep myself in a safe, little bubble, excluded from the potential hazards of the world, that God isn’t going to drop an asteroid on my house?
Those people… the ones I can give a blessing bag or a kind word or an air-conditioned ride on a hot summer day… are all going to die one day too. If God tells me to offer them love and I refuse, have I condemned them to an eternity separated from His love? That is not a risk I am willing to take.
My reply to my sweet friend was simply this: “To live is Christ. To die is gain. I am accountable to the Lord as He prompts me to serve. If I should die from an act of kindness, may God receive the glory.”
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
– Matthew 6:34
So, my advice to you is this…
1. Know where you will spend eternity after you die. My belief is that by faith in Jesus Christ and through the forgiveness of sins He has given me, I will spend eternity in heaven with Him.
2. Live each day intentionally. Do not shy away from what God lays on your heart. Do not live in fear of your neighbors. Live each day fulfilling the purpose that God has placed on your life.
3. Be wise and pray often. Don’t run around without focus but submit your heart to God and let Him direct your path. Listen for His voice and do as He commands. Serve where He leads.
4. Love fiercely. Not just your family and friends but strangers too.
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
– Hebrews 13:2
What do you think?
Have the recent tragedies and rising crime rates changed how you live your life? What is your plan for keeping your family safe?
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