Where do we place our value?
Would you refuse to help a blind man get to where he is going?
This week, 61-year-old blind lawyer Graeme Innes arranged to be picked up by the private “taxi” provider Uber. But as reported by The Daily Telegraph and other media outlets, when the Uber driver arrived, he would not allow Innes’ guide dog into his car.
He claimed his car was worth $90,000 and the dog would make it “messy”.
When Innes told him he was legally obligated to take the guide dog, the driver still cancelled the trip. Innes had to pay a fee and arrange another driver to pick him up. The second Uber driver initially refused to take Innes but gave in when told he would break the law if he didn’t.
And, then, there’s this: Graeme Innis used to be Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
How then should we live?
So, would you do what that Uber drive did? Would you refuse to help a blind man get to where he is going?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be racing to reply: “Of course I wouldn’t. I’d definitely give that bloke and his guide dog a lift.”
The Uber driver prioritised his possession over a person. That’s not good. Not good, at all. Valuing your car higher than a blind man sounds like something none of us would like to admit we ever would do.
But is that actually how we live?
Are people of more importance and worth to us than our things and bank account? Do our choices, words, thoughts and spending demonstrate the priority of people over possessions?
Checking our values
A quick way to diagnose whether we are more like the Uber driver than we should want to be is to apply an ancient warning to ourselves.
As outlined in 1 Timothy 6:9-10 by the apostle Paul, this warning cuts to the core.
“Those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”
Our initial reaction, probably, is to deny that we are placing our wealth ahead of everything else. That’s what other people do, like the Uber driver who loved his car more than treating a blind man respectfully.
But combine the Uber driver with 1 Timothy 6:9-10, and one of the results is a challenge. Particularly if you are someone who has the Christian faith that Paul refers to.
The challenge is to be vigilant about our love of money because it’s an easy temptation to give in to. We can be blinded by greed and consumption, calling them lesser things which make us feel less selfish and indulgent. Excusing the things we have and riches we stack up. Claiming we need it or have earned it or deserve it.
Whatever we call our unhealthy love of money, though, the final cost is the same: falling into “ruin and destruction” — wandering away from the Christian faith and hurting ourselves (and others).
Rather than treat the Uber driver and blind man as an opportunity to point the finger, we can check our own values when it comes to people and possessions.