This past Thursday evening I made a trek to some familiar territory. I had some business to take care of in my old town of Clarksville, TN. Since I was by myself, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and drive by the house that Martha and I rented when we lived there.
Now to put this in context, realize that Martha and I lived in Clarksville for four years while we attended college: one in dorms, one in a little apartment the first year of our marriage, and the last two years at the house on Sevenmile Ferry Road North.
As I saw the house from a distance, I realized that even though I hadn’t laid eyes on it in three years, nothing had changed. As I drove by the house, I noticed my former land-lord (who lives next door) mowing his grass. I don’t know why I acted so impulsively, but I pulled into his driveway. I rolled down the window, and he stared at me, a confused look on his face. I could tell he was trying to figure out who I was. I said, “Remember me?” Then it dawned on him who I was.
I can honestly say that he seemed genuinely happy to see me. He admitted that he couldn’t remember my name, and I didn’t admit to him that even though I’d written him 25 checks over the course of two years, I couldn’t remember his. But it’s what he said next that floored me.
“I heard that y’all had a little one!”
I don’t have any idea how he knew that we had a baby. Really, I don’t. I thought I had absolutely no associations with this man left. In fact, he couldn’t even remember my name! I’d spent the last three years in two different towns, in two states, and hadn’t talked to him or his family in all that time. I’m not “friends” with him, or anyone else I think he knows on Facebook. I have no idea how he knew.
Still, it got me to thinking about the following: People are watching, even when we don’t think they are. They can hear things, even from a different city. I think some people have the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” mentality about their trips and vacations. They might “let their hair down” when they travel, or after they move. After all, who is there to see? Well, trust me, “they” are there, and “they” see, and “they” call their family and keep them up to date.
In Numbers 32, the tribes of Reuben and Gad petition Moses to let them posses the land east of the Jordan, for the sake of their livestock. They reach an agreement, and that is that the men of these tribes still have to fight with the other ten tribes when they cross the Jordan to posses the land. After they have served, then they can return home. If they fail to keep their word, he directs a statement to them in verse 23 which was as true for them as it is for us today, even when we think we are on the “other side of the Jordan” and that no one is watching: “…Be sure your sin will find you out.”
Rest assured (or uneasily), it will. Even if “they” don’t see us, and God is the only one who sees our sin, there will be consequences.
But on a positive note, we can also know that we might be a positive influence to someone, and never know it! Remember, they are always watching, even if you are on “the other side of the Jordan.”