Jesus At The D.M.V.
14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; Hebrews 12:14-15
The author of Hebrews makes it clear that peace with all men will not come naturally to me. The pursuit of peace means that I must make every effort to live in peace. This peace is not limited to just those that I like, those who are like me, those that I agree with or those who agree with me. That I am to work at being at peace with “all men” explains why this pursuit also includes holiness. To attain peace through compromise is not what’s being asked of me here. Holiness reminds me that I have been “set apart” to see God and show God to everyone around me so that no one…even those at the Department of Motor Vehicles, misses out on the grace of God!
It’s a challenge to pursue peace at the DMV. The whole process is a set up for frustration and the “root of bitterness” to spring up and cause trouble. Cyndi & I both had to be there yesterday at the same time because both of our names were on the title for our vehicle. We both needed Hawaiian Drivers Licenses to make our move to Kona official and legal. This, of course, meant that all of our boys were with us in line at the DMV as well. We arrived only to find out that the line we had been waiting in outside was simply the first of many, many lines. Our boys were behaving very well, but the DMV “Greeter” decided to make a snide comment about how parents needed to watch their kids more closely. She handed us piles of paperwork and demanded more proofs of residency then the website had told us we needed. She made sure we knew it didn’t matter what the web site said, it only mattered what she said. Needless to say, by the time she handed us our numbers and sent us to wait to be called to stand in new lines on the inside, the “pursuit of peace” was not our primary focus. I could feel myself falling short of showing grace and feeling roots of bitterness growing strong and fast. I knew she was doing her job, but she didn’t need to demean us in the process. Thankfully, God brought in reinforcements and much needed perspective just when I needed it. I had just had coffee with a Mike a few days earlier and he had recently started attending New Hope Legacy. He worked for a local car dealership and therefore was at the DMV more often then any of us would ever want to be. So, while I was filling out paperwork, he walked up and shared a timely story. He told me how, as he was waiting in the endless lines at the DMV one day, he began to get depressed that he was never going to get this time back. As Christians we are called to redeem the time and he couldn’t figure out how to redeem this. So, he just laughed out loud in line and when people looked at him he shared how depressed he was that time was flying away. Then this confession led the way for another guy to share what he’d been thinking about for the past 15 minutes he’d been standing in line, and then another and so on. I really needed to hear this. I looked up and saw a woman, by herself, with four young boys, also waiting for her number to be called. It was time to pursue peace. I was time to extend grace. It was time to think about somebody besides myself. I had some extra Goldfish crackers and offered them to her boys. Their faces lit up and I could see the mother was relieved. I then determined that I was going to go out of my way to smile, be courteous, and strike up conversation with each and every employee that I spent the next four hours with.
As I sat behind the window and waited for my drivers test to be administered I realized it wasn’t just me that was in the DMV, it was You Jesus. This was the first time I was meeting any of these folks as I have just moved here. This gave me the unique opportunity to make sure they saw You first rather then my frustration, weariness, or bad attitude. You have called me to pursue peace, go after it with all I’ve got, everywhere I go, whether I feel like it or not. Forgive me for the times I have forgotten this and have made my pursuit about me and my check list rather then showing peace and grace to those around me! I never see You more clearly then when I am pursuing what You are pursuing in every place I find myself.