It’s an anxious moment for almost any driver: innocently rounding a bend in the road only to see a conspicuously “hidden” patrol car waiting in speed-trap mode. It happened to me on the way home last night. Instinctively I pulled my foot off the gas and nervously checked my gauges. Dare I say, “much to my surprise?” – I was only doing 47 mph in a 50 zone! I took a quick inventory of my remaining legal obligations:
– seat belt on: check
– headlights on: check
– not using cell phone while driving: check
– belted child in the back seat: check
Phew – I was doing everything right!
The next several seconds were filled with a sense of gloating pride as I guiltlessly approached the cruiser. But wait… to my great disappointment, I noticed the officer wasn’t even paying attention to the traffic! No radar gun, no walkie-talkie, not even a look of scrutiny as I passed by… just a casual sip of coffee as he glanced down at some paperwork. How dare he ignore me at this moment of great law-abiding citizenry?!
Later, I thought about how badly I missed the point during those few proud moments. Traffic laws are not meant to glorify those who follow them, and drivers shouldn’t seek extra credit for obeying established policy. Doing the right thing even when “no one is watching” should be standard procedure for everyone on the road.
So how can we apply some of these same thoughts to our daily walk? Do we ever find ourselves seeking credit for doing what should be the norm in our Christian lives? Are we slightly dejected if our “good deeds” go largely unnoticed? Do we ever intentionally plan acts of service at times when we’re more visible, or “innocently” call attention to our actions in some way through social media?
In Matthew 6:1, Jesus said, “Be sure you do not do good things in front of others just to be seen by them.” (NLV)
Let’s be careful to avoid the “speed-trap” of pride in our Christian lives.
– Ron Reid