Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Crossing The Street To The Glory of God

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Nothing in life is trivial according to the apostle Paul. I think that's what "whatever you do" means. Perhaps one design of Satan in destroying our worship of God is to try to get us to think that this verse doesn't apply to those things that we would consider trivial. Brushing my teeth to the glory of God? Tying my shoelaces to the glory of God? Checking the mail to the glory of God? Paul can't be serious, can he? Yes, he could be. And he is.

As God in His grace has been progressively sanctifying me, I am realizing that the more sanctified I become, the more things I do that I learn to view through the lens of 1 Corinthians 10:31. I remember when not too long ago I seriously began to ask myself how I am to play basketball to the glory of God. I don't do it to show how good I am. I don't do it primarily to win. I do it to display the creativity of my Maker in giving us such a wonderfully complex and skill-requiring game. I do it to be a good steward of the body He gave me. I do it to try to help others be more involved, improving their skills and mine. Just to name a few. I think part of living in and continually applying 1 Corinthians 10:31 is loving God with all of my mind (Matthew 22:37, the mind being perhaps the one of the three--along with heart and soul--most neglected in the Church at large today) by giving hard thought to how I can glorify God in every activity I do.

Since moving to Morgan Hill in December, I have begun commuting to my job in San Jose via the Cal Train. I drive to the train station in Morgan Hill and, once I arrive at the train station in San Jose, I walk to work. It's about a 10 minute walk, with at least three streets to be crossed. And of course, I reverse this at the end of my work day. Six streets crossed. And, hence, the title of this post.

I've recognized several Adobe (the company where I work) employees who also commute via the train as I get into the train station. And I notice that they all take a different route than me in walking to work. Then I came to realize that the route they take is much shorter than mine. And the reason is because it is almost a straight line path to our building. But there's something else that's true about this route. It requires crossing a main city street at a place where there is no crosswalk. The reason I never thought to take it before seeing anyone else do so is because I naturally went to where I saw a crosswalk because I knew that I couldn't get lost following the main streets.

Over the past couple of months, I have taken that (much shorter!) route a few times. I have only done so in the mornings when I occasionally walk to work from the station with a friend of mine and when I leave work later than usual (which is actually quite often!) and I need to hurry so that I don't miss my train. But each time I have done so, I have questioned whether I am crossing the street to the glory of God. Why? Because jaywalking is illegal in California. And then I've been thinking about the fact that the same apostle who wrote 1 Corinthians 10:31 also wrote this:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Romans 13:1, 2
The stakes didn't seem so high in 1 Corinthians 10:31. But now all of a sudden they do. For me to fail to glorify God in the way I cross the street is to incur judgment. And the fact that I need to read Romans 13:1, 2 to see how serious it is to fail to glorify God in whatever I do--that it isn't just a suggestion if I am able to remember--shows how low on my priority list is the one thing that should be at the very top as the banner flying over all that I am.

If I am going to submit to the authorities, I must know what the authorities demand of me. What exactly does it mean for me to jaywalk? For the first time, I decided this evening to look up what jaywalking is officially defined as because, truthfully, I only know it as crossing the street where there is no crosswalk. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, these are the regulations listed under the category of jaywalking:
  • 21954. (a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.

    (b) The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.

    Amended Ch. 1015, Stats. 1971. Operative May 3, 1972.
  • 21955. Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk.
  • 21961. This chapter does not prevent local authorities from adopting ordinances prohibiting pedestrians from crossing roadways at other than crosswalks.
Yes, I'm serious. Putting all of these together (including the first which, though amended, is assumed if I don't want to be hit by a car), I am forbidden at all times from crossing the street where there is no crosswalk between intersections controlled by stoplights. It's interesting to note that the regulation seems to imply that if I am standing at a crosswalk and my light is red, I am allowed to cross the street if there are no cars I am failing to yield to.

You might ask what the difference is between crossing where there is no crosswalk when there are no cars to yield to and crossing where there is a crosswalk and my light is red? That seems like legalism, especially if there are no cars in sight. The difference is that one is forbidden and one is not--not ultimately by the government, but by God Almighty because, as Jesus Himself says, there is no authority except that which is given from above (John 19:11). God didn't have to do it this way. But according to His infinite wisdom, He chose to bring this law into existence. And so I trustfully submit, with joy. What's at stake here is much more than whether you think I'm foolish/crazy or not. My growth in patience is at stake. My humility in submission is at stake. My witness is at stake. My joy is at stake. My mortification of the all-pervasive impulse within me to be my own god is at stake. Whether my heart remains soft or becomes hardened is at stake. And in this, my sanctification--and final salvation--is at stake. I'll gladly walk the extra distance.
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:17
Father, I know that I am supposed to glorify You in all that I do. So for me not to do so is sin. Please forgive me. Thank You for giving me a sensitive conscience that tells me the right thing to do even when I want to make excuses. And thank You for giving me the grace to follow rather than resist it. Make us a people who so saturate our minds and hearts with Your Word that our consciences are inseparably anchored to it through Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, Amen.

1 comment:

Justin said...

Oh wow. I never want jaywalk again. Thank you Chris for posting this and helping me learn to glorify God in crossing the street. It seems like such a small thing, but it has many different consequences and possibly eternal consequences.

Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus to you my brother