Tuesday, August 7, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Off the Beaten Path

LIFE LESSONS: Off the Beaten Path
by Cheryl Simpson

It was just another day…full of busy-ness. As I journeyed home in the late afternon, I saw a garage sale sign that would take me out of the way…out in the country. Now I will definitely stop at a garage sale if it is on my way to a destination, but NOT late in the afternoon and absolutely not if it is off the beaten path.

Well, for some reason, only known to God, off I went following the signs leading to the garage sale. When I finally found it, I hopped out of the car, found a few treasures and paid for my items. Then it all came together. Off to the side, I noticed an elderly lady who had a large bandage on her chest that was clearly noticeable. I asked her about her health. She shared that she was on dialysis and asked if I would just pray for her.

Would I pray? Indeed I would pray and I did so right then and there! The family gathered around and we prayed and then we praised! We praised our Lord for His Faithfulness and His goodness. We praised the Father for His Son and His sweet presence. We praised our Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit! Oh how we praised and continue to do so.

Thank you Father for getting us off the beaten path... Thank you for taking us to unfamiliar settings, to meet unknown people, and leading us to a place of praise.

Cheryl's story reminds me of a story that Jesus told about the good Samaritan. A religious scholar had asked Jesus what was required to gain eternal life. Jesus summed up the law with these simple commands: to "love the Lord your God with all your heart" and to "love your neighbor". The scholar asked Jesus to define the term "neighbor".

"Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I'll pay you on my way back.'

"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?" 
"The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, "Go and do the same." (Luke 10:25-37)

Life is a glorious adventure when we allow God to direct our day. When we open our eyes and hearts to the "neighbors" along our path,  we have the joy of experiencing God's glory and grace. Cheryl has demonstrated so beautifully what it is to love our neighbor, to be a good Samaritan.  Will you "Go and do the same?"   Even if He takes you off the beaten path?

God so longs to weave our lives into a tapestry of love. I'm so blessed that We Are Woven!
Love you! ~Cindy


Cheryl is the grateful wife of 36 years to Ken. They have two children and five granddaughters. Previously a public school teacher, she now spends much of her week doing pastoral care for her church, Newark Church of the Nazarene.

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