By Leonard Lauriault
I picked up a hitchhiker as I was leaving Tucumcari for a meeting in Albuquerque recently. I probably wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been alone in the car (please don’t tell my wife) and was able to make a split-second decision that it would probably be safe. As it turned out, my guest and I had a pleasant conversation covering both topics I’ve heard should never be a part of small talk – religion and politics. He was the initiator in both cases and did not make any statements with which I had to disagree.
One point we discussed was about the word of God as the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) that began with a common misquote/interpretation of scripture made by my traveling companion that, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword (see Matthew 26:52 and Luke 22:36-39).”
First, the word of God is living and active; it has stood and will stand forever having been with God since the beginning and having overcome death at the hands of men to return to God and reign for eternity (Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23-25; John 1:1-4; 17:1-5; Revelation 1:12-18).
Second, the Sword is double-edged – it cuts both ways. So, while it can and should be used to judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart of others that are revealed through their actions, it’ll also bounce back to judge the thoughts, attitudes, and actions of the one wielding it (Matthew 15:17-19). Consequently, we’re to use the Sword as the guide (measure) for judging ourselves before we judge the actions of our Christian brothers and sisters, which we are to do (Matthew 7:1-5; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).
Thirdly, if we misuse the Sword, we’ll meet with God’s disapproval and, possibly, our demise (Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Timothy 2:15-16). Otherwise, if we live by the Sword, we’ll die to self and arise to the new life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:3-7; Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 2:9-15, 20; 3:1-11). Those, however, who don’t live by the Sword will die by the Sword (John 12:47-50; 14:15-21; Acts 2:38-39; 22:16; Galatians 3:26 to 4:7; Romans 8:5-17; Revelation 3:4-6; 20:11-15; 22:12-16).
When we reached Albuquerque, I dropped my rider off at Wal-Mart, as he requested, and proceeded to my meeting. When I went to lunch at a fast-food restaurant, they filled my order and offered me a small shake that had been made erroneously (or Providentially) for a previous order. I gladly accepted and enjoyed it as a gift from God (James 1:17).
I’ve picked up hitchhikers many times before and I’ll probably do it again whenever I feel it’s safe. But I don’t encourage others to do it because there are potential dangers, although, I’ve never had a truly bad experience. Actually, I’ve wondered if I wasn’t entertaining angels without knowing it because I know I’ve been blessed with small reminders of God’s approval especially this time as I recalled that my traveling companion’s name was Michael (Hebrews 13:2; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7-9).