Watch Out for the Boulders

From time to time I will come across a collection of positive stories and illustrations that teach us how to better enjoy life or just be better people.  I like to collect these for future sermons or to read through when I need a reminder or when I think humanity has lost its collective mind.
One of my favorites in the collection reads as follows:
“In ancient times, a king had his men place a boulder on a roadway. He then hid in the bushes, and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers passed by and simply walked around it.
Many people blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the stone removed.
One day, a peasant came along carrying vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the way. After much pushing and straining, he finally managed.
After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and note from the King explain that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the road.”

This story has often come to mind when I walk over a piece of trash in the parking lot and return to pick it up or see something out of place in a store and stop to return it.  I didn’t drop the trash, I didn’t knock the item off the shelf, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t placed there for my benefit.  Human nature tells us to ignore things in our way, blame someone else for not doing their job, or simply complain for the interruption in our day that someone else has caused.  However, I have never regretted picking up trash that wasn’t mine or returning an item to its proper place in a store.  Nor have I ever received a bag of gold for doing these things.  But the physical reward was not the motivation for doing the right thing, the resulting peace of doing my part in a broken world was all the reward I needed.
The disorder of the human condition is enough to drive us all mad.  With new families moving in each day, traffic has increased in our town and the time change makes evenings darker sooner.  Recently, it is at these moments that I have felt most under attack.  I find that God has allowed these “boulders” in the middle of the road to get me to focus on my small place in this great world He has me.  I can be the “boulder” in someone’s life or I can be the person who removes the “boulder” for others.  It’s all in how I look at it.  We all have an attitude toward these things; will ours be a good one or bad? Your attitude toward that boulder might be the thing that makes all the difference in someone else’s afternoon!
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”            Luke 10:36-37

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