I love to take pictures. I have a big Nikon SLR camera which I have lugged up volcanoes, through countless jungles, on motorcycle trips, and basically all around the world. I also love to meet and help people, so I regularly offer to take pictures for people when couples or groups want a group picture. Last week this happened. I was at a scenic overlook and there were three Filipino tourists taking pictures to “prove that they were in America” and I offered to take their picture. They had a camera and an I-pad, and somehow between the shuffle of taking the two pictures, I dropped her camera.
I dropped her camera!
It hit the gravel and when she picked it up, there was an error message on the screen, “Lens not connected.” She tried turning it on and off, tried adjusting the lens, but could not get it to work. I felt sick to my stomach! I have never dropped a camera before. The dominant guy in the group said, “It’s OK, it’s just material things!” and continued to pose and laugh with my dad and my fiance for more pictures, and she said, “It’s OK, I will just talk to Nikon, it is still under warranty.”
I had no cash to give her to pay for the repair, I had no insight as to how to fix it, I was just standing there feeling about the size of an ant, no way to help and no way to offer recompense for my error. As we rode off, I asked the Lord that He would allow her camera to start working again, so that they would be able to document their vacation to the United States. I prayed that He would make it right, make it better – as I had been so unable to do.
About an hour into the ride it struck me that I was emotionally distraught for this family that I had broken their camera. A “material thing” as he had so quickly noted. I had been praying off and on that God would fix their camera and help their vacation, but had not given their spirituality or salvation a second thought. I had not prayed or even cared that their greatest need be met.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
– Col 4.2-6
Make the most of every opportunity for the sake of the Gospel.
How often is eternity on the forefront of your mind? How often is someone’s fate weighing on your heart as you meet him for the first time? Are you concerned for the stranger that he knows Jesus when you take his picture at a tourist spot? Do you think about the cashier’s eternity as you buy your groceries? Does your heart break for your coworkers and neighbors and people that you walk by every day?
It is our responsibility to share. It is our privilege to pour out the love of God towards those around us.
What occupies your mind? What are your defaults? Where is your heart?