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What a pleasure it is when other people’s perceptions shed new light on mine!!  Admittedly, my vocation allows me to be in constant contact with inquisitive folk (they are called students :)), folk who ask good questions, and pose provocative responses.  And to think, I get paid to be surrounded by these people.  Can it get much better!!!???

Case in point – Recently in one of my courses we gave some attention to the role of John the Baptist as the one who was preparing the way for the Messiah, for Jesus.  In that context, I posed a discussion question that went something like this, “What do you think about the concept of ‘preparing a person for an encounter with Jesus?  Should we anticipate any change in a person prior to their salvation encounter with Jesus?  Was John expecting any changes in his audience?

The students floated all kinds of social and religious scenarios, psychological states, life experience distinctions, as well as theological positions.  They really got into the “problem” of identifying just what John the Baptist was doing as the precursor to Jesus.

At one point in the discussion, as the students were going back and forth, one of them said,

“John was saying to his audience, ‘Change your hearts and lives, because the kingdom of heaven is coming soon.’  Preparing a person for Jesus is hard work. Imagine preparing someone else’s travel bags but not going on that trip. To live all your life so someone else can find the spotlight is very tough.”

Isn’t that a great analogy!! Of course, it has its breaking point, as all analogies do.  But it is still catalytic, isn’t it??   It is hard enough to pack our own suitcases for our own travel to Timbuktu.  But, to help some other person pack their bags for that trip!!

Well, that analogy took root with several other students, and I experienced some of the joy of working with medical people.  Consider this comment  –

“I really liked your comment about packing someone else’s suitcase.  I feel like I do that a lot as a hospice nurse.  Most of my patients talk with me about what is going to happen after they die.  This is normally my cue to talk to them about Jesus.  I consider it a huge blessing to be with people on their final journey here on earth.  I feel like I am helping them pack their bags for their next destination.  It is always hard when the person has not accepted Jesus as their saving Lord.  But, that is part of the “job” God has given me as a hospice nurse.”

Do we have our bags packed????  Are we helping others pack theirs???