I was looking through some old meditations I had written and came across this one about my grandpa which I had published in 1998. It seemed timely for me as I am reflecting on how I can be a better person in the coming year.
Jesus ………was led …….into the wilderness where he was tempted for forty days. Luke 4: 1-2
This is my Grandpa Peters, my paternal grandfather. The winter he was 92 years old he lost his driver’s license. He was sad, but he resigned himself to being chauffeured around by his children. When the first fine spring day arrived however, he went outside and was overcome by a strong urge to drive his car. Grandpa was a retired farmer and there was nothing he liked better than to drive from his house in town out to his old farm and watch the work that was going on in the fields. He knew that on such a nice day his nephew, who was farming Grandpa’s land, would be getting out his machines and heading out to the fields to prepare them for planting. How Grandpa wanted to go and watch him work!
He got his keys and went into the garage where his vehicle still stood. He slid into the front seat and started the engine. Sounded good! Should he take a quick drive? Would it harm anyone? What were the chances of the police stopping him? Telling me about the experience later, my grandfather said he put his head on the steering wheel and asked God to help him do the right thing. He turned off the car, pocketed the keys and went back inside.
It was reassuring for me to know that even someone with the wisdom and experience of my grandfather was still tempted to make the wrong choices at times.
In the Bible Jesus is tempted by food, power and fame. We all experience similar temptations. Should I indulge in things that bring immediate gratification but may have long-term negative consequences? When I am position of power do I exercise that power with care? Do I try to balance my desire for personal success and acknowledgement with what I know is best for everyone else? These can be hard choices but ones that can determine our health, happiness and the legacy we leave for future generations.