Once again, traffic has exposed one of my sins.
I was driving home – on the freeway listening to a sermon, interestingly enough – when I let another car merge into the lane I was in. I was in the far right lane, and the driver of the other car was in a single lane that merged with mine. I slowed down, giving him enough space to come into the lane.
He pulled into the open space and everything was OK, right? Wrong, at least in my mind. Why? He didn’t give me the “courtesy wave.” He didn’t acknowledge that I had let him get into the lane. Basically, he didn’t say “thank you.” He was ungrateful. Didn’t he realize that I didn’t have to let him in, that my act of letting him in was an act of kindness and was very unselfish? Of course, he didn’t. How dare he!
Then it hit me – I didn’t, and don’t, deserve praise or thanks for something I should do anyway. The right thing for me in that situation was to let him merge into the lane. It would be “icing on the cake” if he said “thank you,” but if he doesn’t it shouldn’t matter.
The root of the matter for me seems to be that I enjoy and expect being thanked and recognized when I’ve done something (regardless of whether or not it’s out of my way or not). That attitude and expectation is wrong and sinful because it’s based on pride, vanity, selfishness, and worldliness.
Which of you, having a slave tending or plowing sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, “Come immediately and sit down to eat”? But will he not say to him, “Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink”? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all these things which are commanded you, say, “We are unworthy slaves; we have done only what that which we ought to have done.” (Luke 17:7-10)
Yes, it’s possible to be an unworthy slave behind the wheel of a car (even while listening to a sermon).