A while back, I read a news article about a young woman who was on her way to her own wedding. As she was making the jaunt to her nuptials that day, she came upon a car accident. The bride-to-be was a paramedic.
The circumstance that presented itself gave her a choice. Stop and help—maybe saving a life or at least alleviating the situation—or continue on to the venue where her wedding was about to take place. It was basically a “do for myself vs. do for someone else” scenario. Putting myself in that predicament, I think I may have opted for, “Get me to the church on time.”
The young lady in question was not like me. She stopped to lend her expertise. As I think about it, I can only hope I would be that valiant in a similar situation.
“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” ~Yogi Berra~
It seems to me that life is full of moments like these. It’s full of choices that will either move us toward altruism or self-gratification. And while the end results might not be as stark and polar opposite as that, the ultimate road we choose will probably lead to one or the other in the end.
Yogi Berra once said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” As nonsensical as that seems, it appears to be our philosophy so much of the time. By that, I mean we don’t plan ahead of time to be unselfish. We don’t think far enough into the future to prepare ourselves to give if the occasion arises. Giving is an attitude.
Are you an impulse giver?
In life, we are often impulse buyers. We’ll shop for one thing and buy another. It doesn’t matter to us if it fits into our budget. We see something, we want it, and we buy it. We’re the same with our giving.
Way too often, we’re impulse givers. We don’t plan to give. Then once in awhile, God interrupts our lives with moments of choice. We either choose to give, or choose to walk away from the giving moment. If we have not planned ahead to be generous with our time, our money, or our possessions, we will often choose the road most followed—to be selfish, self-centered, or self-gratified.
In early adulthood, my family and I used to participate in the Fresh Air Fund. We would host an inner city child for a few weeks so he or she could spend some time in a rural, open-air atmosphere. During one of those times, I ran into a guy who saw what I was doing and proclaimed, “I raised my own kids! They can raise theirs!”
Do you have a plan for giving?
His plan was not to give. I presume his life was like that in general. I suspect that in those times when God interrupted his daily routine with a choice similar to the one our paramedic bride faced, he opted for self.
God just might interrupt your life today. Please be prepared to give.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]