When I arrived in Narita/Tokyo airport (not knowing a 9.0 earthquake would hit almost two weeks later), my sister, niece, and I waited for some time to take the naval base bus to the base where my niece Kelly would get her car and take us to her home. As I walked 17-month-old Jack around in his stroller, I could see what looked like limousine drivers waiting for the people they would transport to their destinations. They stood right at the exit where passengers came out, holding their signs with the names of the people they would transport. But they didn’t just stand casually. They stood at attention, in their black suits, with their white gloves on, hardly moving a muscle. Two men in particular stood side by side talking but their bodies faced toward where their passengers would walk by.
For an hour, I watched them stand there. Other limousine drivers moved around the area, standing casually. But those two men stood at attention holding up their little name signs, never even moving their feet.
“Wow,” I thought. “That’s dedication. They must know their passengers aren’t coming soon. No one has exited on that walkway for over an hour. Is the plane late that carries their passengers? Do they expect them to come at any moment or do they stand at attention because that is their job?”
By the time we left over an hour later, the two men were still standing there. One of them began to drop one of his arms down, stretching it out. Then he would stretch out the other arm, but never allowing the card to lower. And never moving his feet. What dedication.
As I watched this scene, I asked myself whether I am just as persevering and dedicated to my God-assigned tasks as those two men. Am I distracted from being faithful to God’s call? Am I sloppy in completing my work? Do I watch more TV than needed? Do I check email more often than needed? My friend, Linda Blue, committed to staying off of Facebook for Lent because she realized it consumed too much of her time–time that she could focus on the Lord.
During my time in Japan, I saw many instances of the Japanese culture that models faithfulness and perseverance. And it reminded me; yes, even convicted me, of my need to be faithful as I anticipate the arrival of the King. He could come any moment.
May you and I be like the faithful five virgins who were named “wise ones” and had enough oil in their jars for their lamps to meet the Bridegroom. The five virgins who did not were called “foolish.” (Matthew 15:1-13).
Although those two Japanese drivers may have been excessive in their dedication, I can still learn from them. How about you?