We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1
I should have paid closer attention. This past week our church took its annual trip to Atlanta to work at the Operation Christmas Child distribution center. Samaritan’s Purse heads up this amazing ministry that encourages people to pack a shoebox with toys, toiletries, and the like. The boxes are then collected and shipped around the world to kids everywhere…last year 10 million of them! To the kids it is the greatest gift ever. But the best part is that each box contains the story of Jesus and how much He loves them. Every child loves the gifts but many also hear about Jesus for the first time and love Him too.
So, we take a day and travel on our church bus from Southern Illinois down to Atlanta. We work a full day at the processing center preparing the boxes to be shipped and then the next day we travel home. It is a busy three days and frankly the day we work at the processing center is a long, but wonderful, day. The travel days are easy thanks to our great bus driver Brent. Brent is on staff at our church and He loves people, loves Jesus, and loves to drive!
Well, we left early, really early, Tuesday morning and travelled all day before arriving in Atlanta in the late afternoon. After we checked into our hotel rooms we loaded back up on the bus and went to a mall that was close to the hotel to get supper. We went our separate ways but several of us ended up at a Greek restaurant. It was good. We took our time enjoying the meal and soon it was time for us to leave. My wife Judy was going to pay our bill and I told her I was going to go to the restroom. Having not been there before I looked for the sign and headed in that direction. It was down a small hallway. I only saw one sign and it said men, so in I went.
No one else was in the restroom and in just a minute I was ready to leave. When I opened the door, a lady from our team was just about to push the door open. I looked at her and she looked at me…something wasn’t right. My first thought was that she obviously was confused and was going into the wrong restroom. But then I had a thought. It was odd that the restroom didn’t have the usual equipment you find in a men’s restroom. And then it hit me. Oh no!
Well, I blurted out to her, “Am I in the wrong restroom?” And she confirmed my worst nightmare…I was. Fortunately, I knew her and fortunately no one else was in there, I began to I apologize all over myself. Crazily, in my 66 years of life, this had happened two other times—both years ago. Each time, I wanted to die. This case was no different. I swore her to secrecy but then realized this was too good of a story to pass by. The big question is how in the world do you end up where you don’t belong? That’s a great question. In my case the signage just wasn’t clear, and I was tired, and I just wasn’t paying attention. Put those three together and know that social disaster is right around the corner.
Maybe you have never gone in the wrong restroom, but perhaps you’ve headed the wrong way on a one way street. It’s frightening when you’re seeing headlights and you’re supposed to be seeing taillights. It is one thing when we accidentally go in the wrong direction, but too many times we find ourselves in the wrong place—by choice. The wrong movie, the wrong relationship, the wrong side of the law, or more importantly, on the wrong side of God’s Word. Truth be known it happens way too often. And it usually happens when we get tired, or busy, or sloppy, in our faith. In my case there really were no consequences besides my being incredibly embarrassed, but that is not always the case. Too often our sloppiness ends up in broken lives, broken marriages, and broken hearts.
The Bible has a lot to say about wisdom and staying on the right path. It says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” If I had been paying careful attention, I would have noticed that the sign was intended for the other door…not the one I took. If I hadn’t been sloppy, I could have passed on a very embarrassing moment. Well, they say that hindsight is 20/20. So, what about it? Are we willing to watch where we go and where we step? I think you will find that it is just the wise thing to do. And, by the way, when we do mess up, well, it’s good to know that His grace really is sufficient and to know that always, He’s got this.