First of all, I have learned that, no matter what, cars get the right-of-way. They may not always stop at the sign and you certainly can’t expect them to ever stop at the courtesy crosswalks. They are big and they can hurt you. Let them have their way.
Secondly, I have learned a great deal about timing. I have created imaginary lines on all of the sidewalks leading up to the crosswalks that tell me whether or not I have time to cross the street depending on the timing of the “Walk” sign. I subconsciously count the beeps of the sign as I cross the street so that I can tell, without looking, when that big red hand goes back up.
Most importantly, I have learned that you cannot rely on others to push the button. Few things frustrate me more than walking up to a crowded crosswalk, assuming somebody else has pushed the “Walk” button, and then watching the traffic light turn green when it should be my turn to walk. No matter how many people are standing around the button, you can never assume that somebody has pushed it. Yet, that tends to be my nature and it often leaves me wasting another two minutes of my life waiting to cross the street.
I find this is eerily similar to how most Christians approach helping people. If we see somebody that needs help, we usually go on our way assuming that somebody else will help them. If we see an opportunity for service, we tend to be generous enough to give someone else that opportunity. And if we stumble upon a chance to show some much needed love to a stranger, we unfortunately that assume somebody else will love on them.
We should never, ever, ever, ever assume that somebody else will show love, or serve, or meet basic needs, or even push a button. Seeking purity and justice as we are commanded requires action, and in these ministry opportunities where we choose a lack of action we are actively choosing to not be Christ-like. We are choosing to be a bystander and to take part in the apathetic attitude of our sinful culture.
Don’t be a bystander. Just push the button.