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Observations from a Parking Lot

The other day I observed a phenomenon that has always left me bewildered.  As I got out of my car in a relatively empty parking lot I noticed a woman and her son pull into the Handicap parking space.  

Why was this a memorable event in my life?  The handicapped spaces weren't the best spaces available at that moment.  At that moment there was a vast majority of the front section wide open.  There may have been 15 cars at this grocery store parking lot at the time.  

It led me to ask "Why would she do that?"  I thought it may be habit but then I thought of a more likely reason.  It's special.  She has a handicap decal so she's ENTITLED to that spot.  

On most days the tag hanging from her mirror would entitle this lady to a beneficial position but on this day the entitlement actually was a step back.  

My thoughts immediately turned to my own life and the question:  Am I allowing areas where I'm entitled to actually interfere with better things God would have for me?  

I once knew a Pastor who on a very regular basis would talk from the pulpit about how the thanked God every time he got an "up front" parking spot.  He would often ask his children to pray for an up front parking space as they entered a mall or grocery store parking lot. For nearly two years I heard story after story of a perceived "victory" and "thank God for up front parking spots".  Ridiculous.  

I often thought and have since heard other Pastors communicate the truth that instead of getting upset with a long walk from your car to the store it may be better to thank God that you have the ability to walk long distances.  (A.D.D. Moment: Have you ever found it ironic that people spend 5 minutes finding a close spot at a mall where they then proceed to walk 13 miles in search of a 'deal'?)

Jesus taught this principle in this way:  

Luke 14:8-10
“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.

While you may feel that life has given you a free pass to sit in a place of honor it may turn out to be less than best for you.  I'm reminded to keep my sights on the big picture in life and to remain aware that God's best for me may not always be to claim some position of entitlement.  

Another example of where what appears best isn't always that way is when considering "optimum times".  Nelson Searcy reminded us in his coaching network last week of this principle as a time-saving measure. (A.D.D. Moment:  I'm enjoying the network, you should check it out.)  I promise you've noticed this principle in action.  

Have you ever been stuck at the DMV during a time that was most convenient for yourself?  Did you ever decide to grab lunch right around noon and find yourself in drive-thru hell?  In Virginia we have annual car inspections.  Do you know when most people get their cars inspected?  The last possible day.  Their perceived "benefit" by waiting until the last moment actually costs them more frustration than if they would go at a time when others aren't there.

Doing an activity when it's most convenient for you may actually turn out to be the least convenient option.  Offering deference to others however will usually actually benefit yourself more than you realize.  (A.D.D. Moment: The Pastor I mentioned certainly could have used the walking.)

Have some foresight in your daily life to delay gratification and practice the principle of honoring others before yourself.  You'll find that in the long run the principle actually brings you a life that is filled with less stress and strife and ultimately the honor you receive will be pure and not forced.  It's a much sweeter 'position' to hold. 

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, September 08, 2008


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