DayBreaks for 12/15/16: Dead Man Sitting
From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:
“In October 2005, an elderly man passed away while sitting in his parked car in Melbourne, Australia. He remained that way for several days before his body was found and identified by city officials.
“After the man’s death, however, and two days before the discovery of his body, a police officer gave him a parking ticket and attached it to the windshield of his car.
“The head of the Maroondah City Council later apologized for the incident, saying: ‘It must be just so sad for the family, and we extend our sincere sympathies to them.’ He added, ‘It is simply a case of the parking officer not noticing.’” – ABCNewsOnline, 10/21/05
I wonder about this old man. As he sat in his car, did he feel a squeezing in his chest, a shortness of breath? A pain inside his head? Did he know he was staring death in the face? Or did it all happen so fast that he didn’t even have a chance to think or feel anything? If he’d felt something, might he not have rolled down a window, opened a door, and called for help? Not knowing the details of the situation, I can imagine and picture all sorts of possibilities and questions. But I’m sure that the man would have hoped for help to come.
But to spend too much time wondering about the man is pointless. What I should wonder about is where everyone else was when this man was dying. Several days passed as he sat there in the car, stone cold, unmoving. People must have noticed the car sitting there for several days and a person in it. Didn’t one of them take the time to go see if the man was OK? Apparently not. And the officer who even wrote the ticket may have assumed the man was just sleeping and, being polite, didn’t want to wake him. I just don’t know, and I just don’t understand.
Is it any different each and every day when I look around me at the lives of those who don’t know Jesus? They may be sitting in the cubicle next to you, walking through your checkout lane at the store, cashing your check at the bank. They are there – and they are dying.
I hope that we will not be as careless and un-noticing as the police officer who saw the car, saw the man, wrote the ticket, but never said anything to the man. If someone, ANYONE, who had seen this old man in the car had come to him early on, he might have lived. But they didn’t come, and he died.
One of my greatest fears about the day of judgment is that some lost person that I knew in this life will look at me on that day as they are being led away and say, “Why didn’t you check on me? Why didn’t you help me?”
Genesis 4:9 – Afterward the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know!” Cain retorted. “Am I supposed to keep track of him wherever he goes?”
The answer is: yes.
PRAYER: May we have Your passion for the lost. Give us Your eyes to see their future possibilities, both for glory and for horror. May we be moved by Your Spirit to keep track of one another at all times and in all places. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.