“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
During a recent trip to Cincinnati, a twenty-something lady sat down beside me on the plane. After a brief response to my greeting, she connected her earphones to her mobile device and put them in her ears. Shortly after takeoff, she added dark glasses to her travel attire and remained plugged in—or should I say out—for the duration of the flight.
I might have been offended had I not been familiar with this hallmark of our day which is fast becoming the norm. I wondered who she was, where she was going, and what her felt need was. We all have them, you know.
On my next connecting flight, a forty-something lady was my seat mate. After our initial greetings, she revealed she was on her way home to offer her final good-bye to her father who’d passed away the day before. For the next hour, we shared portions of our lives, looked at family photos and agreed to become Facebook friends. As we prepared to depart, she thanked me for the conversation that had kept her grief at bay.
“Ships that pass in the night” is a line from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem penned over 150 years ago. You’ve probably heard and used this phrase yourself as you’ve brushed shoulders with someone while you were both on the way to your respective places.
The metaphor speaks of two sailing vessels that pass in the night and shine their lights to acknowledge one another’s presence. After passing, they slip into the darkness, never to see the other again.
The Enemy of this world is a master deceiver. He uses multitudes of devices to create division and separate us from the people God places around us on the way to where we’re going. Satan will stop at nothing to keep us from shining a light into someone’s darkness. Our lights may appear dim. What we do may seem insignificant. But the simple offering of our presence may be all someone needs to keep their flickering flame alive.
Daily, Jesus met the needs of people. Some he met while on the way to the next place. His presence always meant life for their souls.
Who will God place along your path today? On the way, listen to the gentle whisper of his Holy Spirit. Acknowledge someone’s presence with yours. Shine a light into their darkness. Your paths may never cross again.
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