Friday, February 16, 2024

When the Unimportant Becomes Too Important - Martin Wiles

when the unimportant becomes too important
But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. Mark 4:19 NLT

Sometimes, the unimportant becomes too important.

Marcin Muchalski was taking a morning stroll along the Williamsburg Bridge when a mugger surprised him, took out a gun, and requested his cell phone. Thinking the robber would not shoot him in the middle of the Williamsburg Bridge at seven in the morning, Muchalski dared the robber to pry the gun off his cold, dead hands. The robber obliged by shooting Muchalski in the leg. Instead of handing over the phone, Muchalski limped away as fast as he could with phone in hand. The robber, who had more sense than Muchalski, decided not to chase the man. The phone wasn’t worth a murder charge.

Or take Marie Murphy, a New Jersey teacher who got a call saying her house was on fire. She rushed home, not fearing anyone was in danger. She knew her husband--and her mother, who had been staying with them--was not in the blazing house. So what drove Murphy to run into a blazing house and risk her life? Baseball tickets. More specifically, her season tickets to see the Phillies.

She ignored all her other possessions—even the certificate of fire insurance—to save her tickets. Luckily, she made it out before everything else—the house included—went up in flames. Although she and her husband had to live in a motel for a while after the fire, they were able to settle with the insurance company. Murphy was also surprised at school one day when a Phillies fanatic tossed a bunch of Phillies merchandise to her, including a framed World Series ticket. Perhaps around this time, she thought about how foolish her actions had been, especially when she learned the Phillies would have reprinted her tickets because they burned in a fire.

And then there was Guita Sazan Silverstein. She left her two-year-old son in her car on a hot summer day while shopping. When she returned to her car, she discovered she had locked herself out. With temperatures in the upper 80’s, her child was at risk of heat stroke. She called for help. When the firefighters arrived, they told her they would need to break one of her car windows. Silverstein told them no. After all, the car was an Audi.

Silverstein came up with a compromise. She would drive more than a mile to her home and retrieve her spare keys—even though her son had already been in the car for twenty minutes. After borrowing a car to drive home, firefighters broke the window anyway and rescued the child—who by this time was unresponsive but luckily revivable. When the mother returned, authorities arrested her for reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor (source).

I’ve never made the same mistakes as Marcin, Marie, or Guita, but I have made more than my share of other poor choices. And I have let the not-so-important become important on more occasions than I care to mention.

Jesus tells the story of a farmer scattering seeds. The seed fell on various types of soil, some infested with thorns. As the seed sprouted and grew, the thorns choked out the plants. According to Jesus, this represents those who let the worries of life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desire for things distract them. Those who hold too tightly to a cell phone. Those who rush into a burning home for sporting tickets. Or those who let a shopping excursion put a child in danger.

A regular diet of God’s Word reminds us what the thorns of unimportance are. Prayer for strength we don’t have helps us distinguish between the unimportant and the important.

Father, give me wisdom to know the difference between the unimportant and the important.

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