Monday, December 26, 2011

The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

Several months ago I was on an overnight train, traveling cross country on a week-long trip. I'd brought several things with me to help me pass the time: my Kindle, an iPod, and my Bible. At some point early in the evening, I got out my Kindle and the Bible, intending to read a novel for a while, then read a few chapters from the New Testament, then try to get some sleep. I never got around to the scriptures.

The next morning we packed up our stuff and went straight to our hotel, where I began unpacking for the night. A few hours passed before I realized I hadn't seen the Bible in the suitcase. I didn't even have to think about it; I immediately knew what had happened--I'd left it on the train. I even knew exactly where and how. Suddenly I was sick to my stomach, and I had an awful feeling that I'd done something terribly wrong.

We hurried back to the station and made inquiries. I won't bore you with the details, but we didn't find it, and while we can't prove anything, I suspect the cleaning lady makes a nice side income selling the items people accidentally leave on the train.

The strange thing about it was that even though this Bible is a nice, valuable book with years of my study notes, neither its dollar value nor its sentimental value justified how horrible I felt about losing it. The main reason I felt so awful was that I knew the reason I lost it was because I hadn't read it. I intended to, and got it out for that purpose, but because I never "got around to it," it was left behind. I'm not saying God was directly punishing me for being lazy, but I knew that my losing the Bible was a direct consequence of me not caring. I haven't been studying the scriptures consistently the past several years, and though I'm not as bad now as I was two years ago, I'm still not very good about studying the word of God, even though I know how important it is.

The reason I tell this story is that it's a perfect example of how my unfinished business has been a problem in my life. The saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." I always have good intentions, and I plan to do things, or start doing things, and then set them aside to deal with later, telling myself that I'll have more time later, or be more prepared later, etc. I do this all the time, and the clutter just builds up around me, in my mind, and in my spirit.

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