Focal passage: Genesis 11:1-9
Early in my ministry, my six-year-old son would get up early on Sunday mornings to go with me to church. One Sunday morning, on Johnson Street, we saw a stalled auto on the shoulder of the road with a driver at the wheel. I slowed but did not stop. At the next red light my son asked, “Dad, what about the Good Samaritan?”
Without speaking, I began to compose, in my mind, a response about the risks of stopping to help strangers and of getting tied up on a Sunday morning when I had “church” things to do. And suddenly, we were at the church, and I never did answer his question. But neither did I forget it.
Ten years later, when my son was 16, I bought him a used car, and he suggested later that day that we go for a ride. We left the house and headed down Johnson Street. In the distance was a car parked on the shoulder of the road with flashers on.
As we got closer, he slowed down, then stopped and leaned over me to ask, “Ma’am, can we help you?”
“No,” she replied. “I have called my husband. He is on the way.”
That same light was red. As we waited, I glanced at him and said, “Chris, you were right, and I was wrong.”
He, too, remembered after 10 years, and suddenly the light changed, and we were moving again. He did not look at me, but he smiled and patted me on the leg. “Dad,” he said, “sometimes you need to take a chance.”
George Barna identifies three stages in the life of a church: risk-takers, when the church is young and growing; caretakers, when the church is older and works primarily through committees; and undertakers, when the church begins saying,
“We’ve never done it that way before.” Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the Jews had become caretakers and undertakers.
I am not one who likes to take chances. I like to do things that are familiar and safe. I don’t eat escargot and squid. I never wear pants without a belt. I don’t get on roller coasters. I do not rappel high mountains. I do not ride untamed horses. And
I do not stop and help a stranded motorist. But I repeat: my son was right and I was wrong. What he did was closer to conforming to the image of Christ than what I did.
If you are a Christian, sometimes you need to take a chance.