Friday, February 3, 2012

Devotional Friday - Who Are You Holding On To?

Submitted by Rachel Winkler (Missionary wife in Estonia)
Written by Rachel's brother Stephen Benefield (Missionary in Cambodia)

I took two of my daughters, Deborah and Emma, with me on the moto the other day to make a visit. All of the kids love riding the moto with me, and since they have all been riding since they were toddlers, they are pretty comfortable with it. While we were riding, one of them made a statement which really got me thinking.

But first, a word about the different ways that passengers ride motos here in Cambodia. I have noticed that while virtually everyone here is comfortable on the back of a moto, there are different ways that people ride.

First, there are the clingy riders. Oftentimes the really young kids are the clingers. I have seen motos go zipping by with a little girl behind her mom or dad just hanging on for dear life. Sometimes their eyes are wide open and slightly terrified, and sometimes their eyes are squeezed tightly shut as if they are concentrating intently on not falling off.

Second, there are the calm riders. Usually the older folks are the real calm ones. After all, they've been riding motos for decades, so it's pretty much like breathing to them. They hang on, but do not seem overly concerned about anything. Cool, calm, collected.

Third, there are the crazy riders. I have seen every age group and both genders in this category. Basically they ride in such a flippant and crazy way it is almost as if they don't realize there is a clear and present danger. Kids standing up on the seat behind their dad, parents driving their moto and holding their sleeping infant at the same time, I even saw a boy once sitting on the front fender of his dad's moto facing backwards with his arms wrapped around the handlebars...crazy!

Finally, there are the cocky riders. This is a step beyond crazy. Crazy is often unintentional, while cocky riders know exactly what they are doing. This is mostly young men doing wheelies, hanging off the back of their friend's moto until their head is inches from the street, standing up on the seat, and other similarly dangerous stunts all designed to show off for girls and demonstrate their invincibility.

The thought occurred to me the other day that the way different people ride on the back of a moto can be compared to the way people "ride" through life. Suppose for a moment that the moto represents life and the driver represents Christ. Some cling to Him, frantically at first, because their faith is still young and vulnerable. Others go through life calmly hanging on to Him, their age and past experiences with Him giving them a quiet confidence that everything is fine. Many go through life without any thought that hanging on to Him is even important. They don't see the need. They are unaware of the danger of not hanging on. And then there are many who are cocky and flaunt their rebellious spirit openly.

So with these thoughts in mind, I now return to the conversation with my daughters. While driving down the road, I asked Emma if she was hanging on to me. She answered in the affirmative. Then I raised my voice and called over my shoulder, "Deborah...are you hanging on to Emma?" I was surprised for a second when she said no, but then she finished her thought. "I'm not hanging on to Emma. I'm hanging on to you!" Deborah had decided that for her own safety and well-being she should reach past her sister and hang on to her dad instead. You know...that's a pretty good idea spiritually too. Oftentimes people get off track spiritually because instead of holding onto Jesus, they are holding on to a brother or sister in Christ. When that brother or sister "falls off", so do they! It would behoove us as Christians to make sure that our eyes are more on Jesus than another Christian. It would be to our great benefit if our confidence was in Him, and not a friend. It would make us all the more safe if we were clinging to Him for our security instead of someone else. So...who are you hanging on to?

One final thought. When riding a moto, hanging on to someone else is not necessarily a bad thing, but only under one condition - the person to whom you are clinging needs to be hanging on to the driver. So it is in the Christian life. While Jesus is all we truly need, He does bless us with the opportunity to interact with other brothers and sisters in Christ for our mutual edification and benefit. The key is: don't get too attached to someone who is not attached to Christ. If we would hold on to Christ and only hold on to others who are holding on to Christ, life really can be a safe journey!

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