“Street Smarts”

We knew from conversations with our Mayan brethren that there were “catacombs” somewhere near our hotel in Tizimin, Yucatan.  We also knew that these were not the tombs of first century Christians like those in Rome.  They were underground passages with scenes of biblical events brightly painted, hand-made and carved out of limestone.  Nevertheless, we were looking for an adventure that would give our hosts some respite from their efforts to be our constant guides.  The citizens of Tizimin are gentle and helpful but few will admit they don’t know their city.  However, after several failures, my son and I decided to inquire at the City Hall in the main plaza.  The town officials searched for at least 30 minutes to find a city map before finding one.  We tried to be gracious because of their efforts, in spite of being handed one sheet of paper with lines and spaces and NO words.  The lines represented the streets which led to open spaces which we assumed were the plazas.  We only laughed later at our futility and still lost condition.  After inquiring of several locals, we finally found the hidden “catacombs.”  They were worth all the effort and the small admission fee. They were located in the backyard of a nondescript house and the tour was self-directed. The neighbors and the owners all seemed bewildered to see foreign tourists at such an early hour. Tizimin is well off the beaten path and is based on agriculture not tourism.

In one sense some folks in Tizimin were street smart because they knew the names of the plazas and streets without a street sign or map.  Others in their desire to help would seldom admit that they didn’t know the exact location (Mt 15:14) (Lk 6:39).  Most people in today’s secular world are looking for a place of knowledge, truth, love, and peace but are trying to find it on their own.  They expect spiritual truths from the wrong sources and are frustrated when given false or misleading answers. They ask the wrong questions of the wrong people who all seem to have conflicting answers.  The wisdom found in any source but God’s word is much like the map the well-meaning officials gave us.

On very rare occasions someone might find a Bible, study it and discover the truths that God inspired.  Much more often people need a guide who has “street smarts.” (Acts 16:10) (Rom 10:14-15) Any Christian who has traveled these “streets” should be able to guide the searcher to the correct location.  Any honest searcher will not reject advice from the guide book nor the help of the guide.  The reward will be a welcome to a wonderful and joyous arrival into eternal life (Rev 21:1-4).

—Jim Bailey