by David Phelps
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." - Mother Teresa
I'd like to share a couple of observations I made during our vacation this summer. First, when we stopped for gas on our way out of town, our almost-five-year-old daughter, Monica, asked, "Have we gone very far?" I checked the odometer and found that we had gone exactly two-and-a-half miles since leaving our house. We still had more than six hundred miles to go. I told Monica that, no, we had not gone very far.
Later, Monica lost one of the toys she had brought along to keep herself occupied in the car. It was a small, blue plastic dolphin with painted red eyes, worth about a quarter if you were feeling charitable. But for Monica, it became the center of the universe. It didn't matter that she still had a whole menagerie of other toys: Her dolphin was gone! Fortunately, the next time we stopped, I found it alongside the back seat of the car. Monica was overjoyed when I handed it to her.
Monica's question at the beginning of our trip should be a familiar one: Nearly every parent has heard the line, "Are we there yet?" at some time or other. As Christians, sometimes we may be inclined to ask God the same thing: "Are we there yet?" Have we prayed enough? Loved enough? Forgiven enough? Witnessed enough? Worked enough? Sacrificed enough? We're not alone in asking these questions; Jesus' disciples asked the same thing. (Matt. 18:21-22; Mark 10:28-31) And, of course, we haven't. We're not there yet. Sometimes, we haven't gone very far at all. Our faith journey is for a lifetime and we must be steadfast every step of the way.
Monica's distress over her lost dolphin reminded me of the parable of the woman with the lost coin. (Luke 15:8-10) As long as there is one soul left to be saved, one person in need of God's love and forgiveness, we must pursue them with the same passion, tenacity and diligence as the woman with the lost coin. Or Monica and her dolphin.
"And let us not grow weary of in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Gal. 6:9-10 RSV.)