Sunday, January 27, 2008

An iPod named Cleopas

What exactly was life like before the iPod? Can anyone really remember? I mean did we really used to walk around with those bulky, skippy, "CD" players? I walked into WalMart today with my "earbuds" blaring some good old Kirk Franklin; feeling pretty good about getting some food. In between songs I could hear on the loud speaker some 15 year old singing about how hurt she was because her boyfriend broke up with her and here I am blaring good ole' Gospel funk! Thank God for the iPod!

I proceeded down the aisle and arrived at the soda section. $1.08 for Cherry Coke immediately attracted my attention. That's when he drove by. An old guy in one of those motorized cart things. By this time I had switched from Kirk to a podcast, ironically enough, on the atonement by R.C. Sproul. I moved my cart so he could do a u-turn and saw him begin to get up, first by putting his cane against the shelve then by twisting his legs around to meet the floor. I had a decision to make-

1) Watch this guy struggle for his soda (He had to be 90, why is he buying soda?)
2) Offer to help
3) Continue to listen to the iPod and leave him be.

Well, I chose number two. 3-12 packs later, the gentleman thanked me for my help and promptly ran over my toe with his cart.

Maybe I should have taken 1?

I was reminded tonight of Luke 24:13-35 and the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The first thing that caught me eye with this story is the fact that Luke mentions multiple times that they were "walking". Now these guys had to have been powerwalking because the Bible says: "Jesus himself drew near and went with them". (15) It's not ever really stated that they invited Jesus along or that they even acknowledged his presence until verse 17. Instead they just kept talking and walking, the whole time this random guy who caught up with them is standing awfully close for comfort.

In verse 16 the Bible states that these disciples were kept from recognizing Him. Why? I mean if I had just risen from the dead and was walking around with gaping holes in my wrist/hand, I think I would show off? Instead, Jesus engages them in conversation and tells them what the Bible says and not what there presuppositions and knowledge were. Notice this- "What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still..." (vs. 17) These disciples would later say that they had a "burning inside" that should have led them to realize this was Jesus and I would imagine this may have been the spot where it started. Something caused them to drop their conversation about the atonement and literally stand still to listen!

These men, Cleopas (vs. 18) and another unidentified companion, were carrying on in their theological discussion. They had the headphones in the ear, describing the atonement, but not really fully understanding what that actually meant. Then a stranger comes up, out of no where, and buts in on the conversation. He enraptures them so that these disciples beg for Him to come with them to their destination and enjoy their hospitality. A very Jewish thing to do. It wasn't until their act of hospitality (ones left to wonder if they had not done this would they have ever known) that their eyes were opened and they saw the Lord. (31)

Now the connection I'm pulling from this story and my adventure in WalMart today is found in a separate portion of Scripture:"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'" (Matthew 25:45) Like Cleopas, I was so busy in the midst of my theological "discussion" that I almost completely missed Jesus with skin on. Am I saying then that the old guy with the cart, who ran over my toe, was Jesus? No...but yes? Jesus makes it very clear that when you do not help someone in need that you are not helping Him. That is a very scary thought! One if all Christians actually believed this the world would become a much more gracious place.

This blog was born out of witnessing a lady get hit with the door as we walked out of church today. Common courtesy-especially if you are a man-dictates that you hold the door for a lady until another man takes over. And the cycle repeats until everyone leaves happy. However, this man did not follow suite. He let the door bang into this poor lady with 3 kids. Thankfully, I was able to hold the door for her so she could recover but it still agitated me to no end. Yet, tonight was a reminder that we all have it in us. For me, it was the iPod named Cleopas that almost led me to not help this man out in the soda aisle, simply because I was to engaged in a discussion of the atonement that I almost didn't practice it. Who knows what it may have been for that guy at church. Either way, Cleopas story ends with an act of hospitality to the King of Kings, even though he didn't know He was the King. How much more then should we, who know the King of Kings, help out those in need. Are our insides burning to the point where we want to help someone? Or are we so engaged with the iPod, getting out of church quickly, or getting a $1.08 Cherry Coke that we do not help someone and blame the burning on the meal we just ate?


"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14