This past Thursday I had the chance to play the role of a proud parent once again. My daughter Miriam graduated from Grand Canyon University. I was so excited for her and so proud of the way she pushed through to the end to earn her degree.
School was not always easy for her. She was slow in learning how to read and didn't really learn until 3rd grade when we home schooled her for the year. When she was in high school she did well, but she always had to put in the extra effort.
As she started college I knew she was going to do well, but then in the middle of her sophomore year she told my wife and me that she decided to stop school for a while to go into the mission field. We were excited for her and happy with her decision. However, I think there was a part of me that wondered if she would ever go back and get her degree.
So here she was on Thursday, the girl who struggled to learn how to read, the person for whom school never came easy, who took a year away to do mission work, walking across the stage and getting her diploma. I found her name in the graduation book and there was an ** next to it to indicate she graduated Magna Cum Laude. I was really at a loss for words.
As I reflected back on all of this I thought of Hebrews 12:1-2, "... And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
It took a lot of perseverance for my daughter to run the race of education and graduate from college. She ran even though sometimes it wasn't fun for her and it was difficult. We are called to do the same in our race of life; to run with perseverance, but as we run see the goal. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Last week I was driving to school when all of a sudden traffic slowed. It was in a spot where there didn't seem to be a reason for people to slow down or stop. I was in the right lane and the center lane kept moving along just fine. People ahead of me started pulling around so I figured there must be something in the roadway.
When there was an opening I pulled around and as we moved up we could see why people had stopped. There was a homeless man who was riding a motorized scooter. He had gotten a little too close to the curb and the scooter had tipped over into the street.
As we neared I could see the man was getting up and it appeared that he was going to be okay. Yet there was something inside of me that said I should stop and help him out. So you know what I did next, I kept driving to school. I rationalized it in my own mind saying that I was sure he was okay, I was running late to a meeting, I had three students in the car and I shouldn't make them stop. These were all excuses. I know I should have stopped to help him. The fact that I am writing about this a week later and still thinking about it is another indication I should have stopped.
I started thinking about the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10. I had always thought of myself as the person who would stop and help someone in need. But here I was acting like the priest or the Levite and passing by on the other side. I literally moved over, just as they had in the parable, to get by and not stop.
I love the last line of the parable that Jesus told. In verse 37 it says, "Go and do likewise." There wasn't a condemnation of the people who had just passed on by, there was simply an instruction. The people were told to act in the way the Good Samaritan did. My hope is that the next time I come across a situation like this I can listen to the voice that is telling me to stop and follow the instruction to "go and do likewise."
Bob Koehne, husband to Mia, is an educator, coach, mentor and administrator with a love for Jesus and a passion to see lives impacted for Christ through Christian education. These are just some of his writings.
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