When people say, “life is a journey”, they’ve obviously never been on family vacations. Or maybe that’s where the analogy originated!
If you’ve ever traveled with children, (that’s children, plural), you are experienced in a challenge unknown and unappreciated by your adult counterparts. This was particularly true in the days prior to the techno-burst of unlimited data on tablets to keep the little balls of energy wirelessly entertained while they are strapped for hours in a seatbelt.
Of course they don’t like the seatbelt! Nevertheless, it’s your responsibility to get them wherever in one piece, despite the potential assault on your own sanity.
“Jimmy has his elbow in my space!”
“I’m hungry again!”
“Beatrice say she has to go to the bathroom!”
“Nope, never mind, she okay now.”
And the ever-popular…
“ARE WE THERE YET???”
Triple-A should have an app.
So, when the Old Testament priest named Ezra undertook the monumental task of transporting men, women, and children, plus a hoard of silver and gold, back to Jerusalem after the 70-year exile, no wonder he prayed…a lot.
And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled…So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.
Ezra also took careful stock in what they had to transport. (Have you ever gotten three hours down the road and realized someone left behind an essential piece of vacation equipment, like the two-year-old’s special blanket??)
“I weighed the treasure as I gave it to them and found the totals to be as follows…”
Then this interesting comment—
“And I said to these priests, ‘You and these treasures have been set apart as holy to the Lord…Guard these treasures well until you present them to the leading priests, the Levites, and the leaders of Israel, who will weigh them at the storerooms of the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem.'”
The caravan probably had some treacherous territory to get through. I’m sure, even without the internet, news had traveled that there was quite a fortune moving through the countryside. I also wonder at the temptation to pad one’s own pocket—who’s going to miss a few pieces here and there?
“So the priests and the Levites accepted the task of transporting these treasures of silver and gold to the Temple of our God in Jerusalem.”
Interesting comparisons here.
First, yes, life is a journey—a treacherous one at that. Some things experienced travelers can anticipate and avoid, but you really never know what’s just around the next corner, or when your life’s tire will flat out. It takes endurance. Prayer is essential.
Secondly, whether it’s understanding my family’s individual gifts and talents, or my own, I’ve been entrusted with carrying that valuable stuff through this life. I need to take stock of what I have, because I know God sure has. I’m accountable.
Which means that, at the end of the road, those will be accounts payable. Have I tucked away some of the gift, using it for my own advantage? (Or as Jesus put it, buried it in the ground?) Or have I nurtured and expanded what I’ve been entrusted with?
And lastly, I can only imagine some of the fuss that the priests in charge of the trip had to endure to keep everything safe and on schedule, how many “are-we-there-yet’s” and “why-can’t-I’s” and “I’m bored’s”. No matter. The end result was to arrive safely, come what may in the middle.
It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy myself along the way, but honestly, I do look forward to taking off my seatbelt when reaching the intended Destination.
(**PS, my kids were expert travelers, BTW, so kuddos to parents otherwise challenged!)
Ezra 8: 21-30 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.