“Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” –Luke 10:4
I follow Jesus’s advice when I walk Lexi: we don’t greet anyone on the road. (I don’t take a purse or bag, either, but I do wear sandals in the summertime.) Lexi’s greeting is so enthusiastic as to be perilous. She jumps and writhes around and is likely to knock someone down or tangle him in her leash. Also, she can’t control her bladder when she’s excited. Very few people want to be greeted like that; most neighbors just want to pat a calm, friendly dog on the head as they pass by. So Lexi and I stand aside or cross the street when we see people coming. Jesus tells a story about a priest and a Levite who cross over to the other side of the road (Luke 10:30-35). They are criticized for being unneighborly. Perhaps my neighbors think I’m unneighborly, too. Is Jesus saying contradictory things in Luke 10? I don’t think so. When we walk with God, we’re supposed to focus on him. We’re not supposed to get distracted. Stopping to chat along the road was a distraction for Jesus’s disciples (for Lexi, too). However, we’re not supposed to be so focused on our religious practice (like the priest and the Levite, who feared becoming ceremonially unclean) that we fail to love our neighbors. Walking with God means knowing when to cross over and when to stop.
Dear God, Show me when to cross the road and when to stop when I’m walking with you. Amen