Roland

G U E S T  P O S T: Laura Hines

Tyler, my husband, and I had a neighbor.

His name was Roland, he lived alone, and he was dying of terminal cancer.  As newcomers to the neighborhood, we learned about his health through others.

The veterans of our community knew Roland well.  They drove him to his doctor appointments and assisted him with needs.  He seemed to prefer to be alone and didn’t really trust the new kids on the block.

The holidays were starting and Roland’s health seemed to be declining.  Everyone in our neighborhood started rushing around, waving quickly or saying a brief hello before running off to the next event on our schedule.  And then one evening all the neighbors realized they’d been so busy that they had not seen our dying neighbor in a while…when we combined our stories, the last time someone had seen Roland was 2 weeks prior.

2 weeks.  14 days.

And when the firemen came to break into Roland’s home…they found he had passed away 2 weeks prior.

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Now I realize that Roland’s prognosis would not have changed had we found him after 2 days had passed.  He still would have died.  But, why didn’t twenty people notice our dying neighbor was not around sooner?  What were we doing that was so important?

I know I was rushing off to teach my Kindergarten students, to travel opportunities where I get to share my story to give hope to others, to family events, to church events, etc.  I still had time to read my novels and watch some Netflix between all that.  There’s a big problem here even with the seemingly good things that fill my schedule.

I was not too busy for Roland…I was too distracted.

I think we pack our lives so full and are so distracted, that we miss out on all that Jesus has for us. We have neighbors around us who are literally dying and need him, yet, we have a job to keep, a family to love, a Christmas shopping list to take care of.  We sometimes have our schedules packed full of ministry opportunities and forget that our whole life is a ministry opportunity.

As we close off this year and celebrate the birth of our Savior, we need to take a look at our lives.  We need to weigh our schedules and reevaluate if we are spending our time on things that have eternal significance.  When I’m on my deathbed, I highly doubt that I will look back and wish I worked more hours or watched more Netflix.  I want to be on my deathbed and know that I have used every opportunity that God has ever put before me to know Jesus more and to share Jesus more.

Laura Hines is a kindergarten teacher, Nutella enthusiast, wife, and advocate for the rare disease PKU. Though she stopped giving herself haircuts at age 12, she likes to get her thrills by expressing her inner tomboy through fishing, camping, hiking, and jumping off things. 

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Categories: faith, Guest Post

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