In my previous post, I bragged about my recent trip to Hawaii—under the pretense of discussing what might happen if we adopted certain aspects of a tourist mentality in our own cities and neighborhoods.
In that post, I mostly asked, what if?.
This time I’d like to consider why not?.
Maybe we really do get too busy and distracted to even notice the beauty and brokenness around us. Maybe we simply never feel any curiosity about who our neighbors & coworkers really are, or any prompting to get to know them on a deeper level.
But I don’t buy it.
Mainly because I know those things are not true of me.
I turn away. I squelch a thought. I distract myself with something else. I justify. And I do it pretty quickly—so quickly that I can say (with a relative measure of truthfulness) that I’ve never really given the thing much consideration. But, if I’m honest, I have to admit that at some point, and to some degree, I did see.
The truth is that I know what not to notice. I know what’ll cost me.
If I recognize the beauty and value inherent in each soul that crosses my path, then I ought to care about the condition of that soul. And if I take an interest and get a closer look, I will see brokenness and need. It will demand a response. If I respond and invest, it will mess with my life. It will be inconvenient. It might hurt.
It will mean my life is not my own.
For me, it’s about comfort and control. I hate putting myself out there. Taking the initiative and offering me to people is difficult and uncomfortable, and worst of all, the results are unpredictable .
Plus, I like the little world I’ve made for me and my family.
That’s understandable—it’s a nice little world.
Of course I’d be willing to give it all up for Jesus if he asked me to, right? Well, that sounds good in theory, but something inside me rebels fiercely when it gets outside the realm of the theoretical.
What if I see that there is an actual, practical opportunity to: Give up my margin to offer hospitality and love to others? Step out of my comfort zone to initiate and facilitate relationships? Risk my heart by pouring it into someone who may or may not respond positively in the long run? Lower my standard of living in order to meet the needs of others?
See the problem? I’d have to respond to that opportunity.
It’s better to just keep my head down and not notice.
Then I can keep my life for my own.
I think that’s why I don’t have a tourist mentality at home.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”
I wonder if this is because we think our theoretical willingness to do the work makes us workers…while we stand around the farm, lunch pails in hand, intentionally looking at anything but the harvest.