A Travelers Tale
I once knew a “person” who was walking on the road toward their destination when they happened upon a person sitting on the side of the road, and by their demeanor, was very tired. Beside them was a small backpack similar to the one you were carrying. Being the helpful person you are, you said to him, “Here let me carry your backpack, it is not very big, and I have a lot of energy.” So you picked it up and helped him stand, and down the road you both went.
A little ways down the road you came upon a person stretched out on the grass by the road resting. “Hi,” you said, “How are you?” “A little tired,” was the reply, “I think my back is giving out.” “I noticed you have a backpack. Is it heavy?” “Oh, no, but I have been carrying it for a long time” he said. “Would it help if I carried it for you?” I replied. “I couldn’t impose on you my backpack. It would not be right.” “That’s okay,” I said. “If it will help you, what’s one more backpack.” So, I picked it up and off we went down the road.
Around the bend in the road was another traveler sitting up against a tree. I called out to her, “Hi friend, how are you doing?” “Fine, except the backpack I have does not fit me very well, so I have a sore spot on my back,” she said. “I can help you by carrying it for you.” “Oh, that would be wonderful, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. You are a real comfort.” “Why, thank you for allowing me to help.” I replied. “It’s not problem.” Down the road we went, my friends and I.
After a while, I noticed they were getting ahead of me. “They must be walking faster,” I thought, “So I better pick up the pace a little. I must be slowing down.” So I hurried to join them. I found that they were always getting just a little ahead of me. “This is unusual, since I am a fast walker” I thought, with a quizzical look on my face. A little later, I realized I was getting way behind and I was not going to catch up. I did not have the energy and my legs felt heavy. “This is bad, I must be getting old or something,” I mused. “I think I will go sit on that bench over there next to the road and have a sandwich, maybe it will help.” So I sat on the bench, ate my sandwich, and looking down the road, I could not see my friends. “Well, I guess they will have to get along without me,” I mumbled. “Fine friends they are to leave me like this,” I complained. Finishing my sandwich, I stood up and started walking. After a while, my steps had slowed to a snail's pace, and I was shuffling my feet. “My feet feel like cement and I am having a hard time just to stand up.” I inhaled and let out a sigh. “How did it come to this, I was so full of energy and purpose and now I don’t have either.” I guess I should not have started in the first place. I thought this is what I needed to be doing. I will not get to my destination at this rate and I am going to disappoint all those people who trusted me with their backpacks.”
“Backpacks!” I shouted. “It’s not me, it’s all those silly backpacks I offered to carry.” Feeling invigorated, I dropped all their backpacks. “I feel light on my feet again.” I exclaimed. I hurried down the road and soon caught up to my “friends” who were sitting by the side of the road having lunch and laughing about my inability to stay up with them. “What’s the matter, old friend?” one of them said, “Your backpack too heavy for you?” I looked at them and thought, “They didn’t have a clue, nor did they care.” I was about to give them a piece of my mind when the thought hit me. Did they ask me to carry their backpack? No, I offered because I saw the condition they were in. So why did I offer to carry them? As I sat down to ponder the question, the answer came to me. It was if a light bulb came on in a dark room. My need caused me to offer. The need for companionship on that lonely road. Was I required to do it? No, but I felt obligated since I was in better shape and felt like I could not leave them like that.
All these thoughts rushed through my head like a river tumbling over the rocks creating turbulent rapids. “What am I supposed to do?” I said to myself. Then it became clear, I cannot save the world by myself. I cannot allow my emotional needs to drive my actions. If I have a goal to reach, I must know my strengths and the resources needed to reach that goal. I cannot take on any other tasks that would deplete my resources and cause me not to reach my goal.
Maybe, I should have talked to the farmer in the field by the road and ask him if we, my friends, and I could borrow his cart and horse to carry our backpacks.
“Duh…what a sterling idea.”
Moral of the story
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Cor. 10:13