"But God, it's not convenient"
My agenda didn't include stopping everything to help a stranger.
up from my early morning chores, I was surprised to see a man plodding towards
me through the small pasture that lies between our home and a busy highway. I
could see a pickup on the shoulder of the road with something obviously wrong. It looked like a strong wind could tip it over. The man drew close and
advised he had just blown the right rear tire and wanted to know if I had a
heavy duty jack. His jack would not lift the pickup with its heavy load of
hogs. I was already running behind with my chores and normal morning routine
prior to going to my office job, but I located my jack and drove him down to
his pickup. My jack would lift the pickup, but we found another
problem. After the man reached his spare by climbing over the sideboard
and squeezing down between tightly packed hogs, he found the spare was flat.
At this point I was wishing I had given him some lame excuse and let him solve his own problems. I had several pressing issues at the office that day and I hadn’t even showered yet. However, time was important for this man too as it was starting to get hot and the tightly packed hogs would likely die if he didn’t get them moved quickly.
Judging by the man's clothes and his truck, he was probably well acquainted with hard times. However, he did not panic. He simply asked if I could get him to a phone. Before we headed back to my house I noted the make and age of his vehicle. I remembered I had a set of mounted snow tires left over from an older car. Since both vehicles were a product of the same company, I thought that the wheel holes might match. (They often don’t.) We took a wheel down to his pickup and were able to change the tire and get him on his way.
Still thinking of my own agenda for the day, I didn’t get his name, address or even his license number. He had assured me he would return tire and wheel, but at the moment I was just happy to get him going again.
in the day I realized I had no way of checking to see if the man made it to his destination
safely. I was feeling rather good about helping the man even though I struggled with my own agenda. The Bible tells us: “Each one
should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully
administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV). I am just
thankful for God’s grace that prodded me to lay aside my personal focus to help
the man. James teaches if we see someone in need but only wish him well, what
is the good of it if we do nothing about the physical need (James 2: 16).
Backing out of the garage two days later, I found my wheel was positioned between the two garage doors. The man had left a note thanking me and advising that he had made it to his destination without further problems. He also clipped two dollars to the note for the wear on the tire.
We all can be involved in service to others, but this experience again affirms for me that the need to reach out to help others in times of trouble rarely comes at our convenience. If we apray to be used of God and ask for His direction, we will be more likely respond to the needs around us, regardless of the day’s agenda we have set for ourselves.
Walter N. Maris resides in Savannah, MO