The Bus

by Andy Wood on March 27, 2010

in Esteem, Life Currency, Tense Truths

Inspired by an analogy I heard from my friend Bill at lunch yesterday…

Let’s say you’re a camp counselor.  And on this day you’ve loaded up 45 nine- and ten-year-olds on the bus for an outing.  Everybody’s had a great time as you have taken them into the city or to the beach… picture you own favorite locale for a gang of kids to have a blast.

Now it’s time to head back to the camp.  So you load ‘em up and move ‘em out.

That’s when it hits you.  You forgot the first rule of kids-on-the-bus management.

Yep.  You forgot to count heads.

Forty-one.  Forty-two.  Forty-three.  Forty-uh oh.

It’s every kid herder’s worst fear.  You’ve left somebody behind.  He’s lost.

So what do you do? You turn your face – and your bus – back to where the child was lost.  You seek.  You ask.  You knock.  You do whatever it takes so that nobody gets left behind.

But wait a minute.

What if the 44 others – the responsible kids – are getting restless and ready to be off that bus?

Too bad.

What if they’re hungry or scared?

That doesn’t change the direction of your face.

But what about the lost kid?  What if he is a bully?  Would that change your mind, or your face?

What if she’s a gossipy fight instigator that everybody in camp is sick of?

What if he’s the team weakling, always causing his team to lose all the competitions?

What if she’s the Mamma’s girl – the homesick crybaby?

What if he’s the thief – always stealing from everybody else’s locker or backpack?  Would you change your mind then?

What if – truth be told – you just don’t like him?  Or what if he has broken every rule you have laid down as the authority?

Is there anything you can think of that would cause you to leave a nine-year-old behind, and to set your face and course in a different direction?

I don’t think so.

So… what if you weren’t actually the counselor?  What if you were the kid?  And the counselor was God?

I wonder.

I wonder if you have thought of enough things about yourself that would make you assume that He would take His “forty-four” and go about His business, leaving you to fend for yourself?

After all, you’re the Sultan of Screwup.  You’re the ultimate repeat offender – the weakest link on your team.  Don’t you know everybody else would be better off if you just disappeared?  Those people that you’ve hurt or taken advantage of or let down or betrayed or lied to or lied about or offended or made to cry… why should you expect anything more than a life of alienation?

OR, you’re the princess of precise, the spiritually correct martyr who is always rejected because of your high-tower mountaintop principles. Your “friends” are only the fair-weather type, who only like you until it’s inconvenient.  And a bunch of them are on that bus.  What do they need you for anyway?

Maybe I’m the only one.

Or maybe there is somebody else reading this, who needs to know that if for whatever reason you miss the bus, your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace will not rest until you are found.

Maybe somebody reading this is wondering if He will turn His face toward you.  Ever.  Again.

The answer is yes.  So get on the bus, Gus.  There’s a party scheduled in heaven, and you – yes you – are the guest of honor.

“What do you think? Suppose a man has 100 sheep and one of them strays. Won’t he leave the 99 sheep in the hills to look for the one that has strayed?  I can guarantee this truth: If he finds it, he is happier about it than about the 99 that have not strayed. In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want one of these little ones to be lost” (Matthew 18:12-15, GW).

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharma March 27, 2010 at 8:24 am

Wow, I love this. And, I needed to hear it today. Thank you.

Melanie March 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Wow. I used to think I really understood that parable. Perhaps it’s just the teacher in me (that is one of the worst fears for a teacher/counselor!), but this really hit home. Thanks for bringing it into new light! 🙂
.-= Melanie´s last blog ..Spring Break 2010 =-.

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