Color Me Selfish

30 09 2013

Permit me this side note:

This weekend I had the pleasure of going to the coast to meet a fellow blogger, His Eye is on This Sparrow. Elizabeth is a fun and interesting Christian woman and we were fast friends. She and her husband took me to dinner on Friday night. We talked until after the restaurant closed.

On Saturday, she and I had lunch together…and talked until the restaurant closed! We had much to talk about – so much in common. I will cherish the memory of our visit – and hope for more of them next year!

The rest of the weekend I spent with the Lord. He had plenty to say! (I don’t usually let Him get a word in edgewise. ;()

{This part of today’s post is not one I make proudly. If it encourages you to obey the Lord, then it will be worth the embarrassment of this public confession.}

*****

It was raining as I made my way home. Along the road there was a young couple, hitchhiking. The young woman had such a bright, shining face. As I drove past, I considered turning around and offering them a lift to the next town. Caution won out, and I drove on. Besides, I wanted to stop at a beach between where they were and the next town. I wouldn’t be able to do so if I gave them a ride.

As is my custom, I was listening to preachers on my iPod. The speaker was a guest at Fresh Life Church in Montana. The title was, “Don’t Let Life Pass You By.” He was talking about being prepared to share Jesus in every situation.

About ten miles down the road, he began to talk about the time his wife brought a homeless woman to church. She’d been wandering in the middle of the road near their home. Suddenly, her daughter piped up, “Don’t you even be thinkin’ ’bout drivin’ by!”

This was something they’d been drilling into their daughter. How could she go on without at least inviting the woman to join them?

Great! I thought. I knew it. I should have picked up that couple, Lord.

I’m sorry. I’ll stop for the next hitchhiker I see, okay?

That podcast finished, and I moved to the next sermon. This time it was Levi Lusko‘s Bow Before The Battle service. The people of his church were fasting and praying for the Easter service being held the following week. It was mostly music, and I enjoyed singing along to “The God of Angel Armies.”

Just up ahead I saw another couple  on the side of the road, looking for a ride.

Well, Lord, I said I would pick them up, I said and pulled over. 

This couple were on their way to Hollywood. The fellow told me they’d applied for parts in a zombie movie. He had dark hair and eyes and a short beard. His clothing was clean – although wet. His lady friend was another story. She was in a thin jacket, wearing flannel pants, and was soaked. A glance at her face, and her meth problem was evident. The scent of alcohol floated into my car as she climbed into the front seat.

Think fast, I thought. “I can take you as far as Trinidad,” I said to the guy.

“That would be great. Thanks,” he replied.

I’m a lousy conversationalist, so the ride was mostly quiet.

I don’t like to have people I don’t know behind me, so I studied his eyes in the rearview mirror every chance I got. His eyes were steady and calm, so I relaxed.

Meanwhile, I’d turned up the volume on the music. Levi broke in and began to talk about the God who knows us, who loves us, who offers us hope.

Once in awhile, the girl would mutter, “Hmm or oh.”

When Levi finished and the music resumed, I mentioned to them that this fellow’s five-year-old daughter had died just before Christmas from asthma. Instead of balling up and withdrawing, this had served to fire him up even more about Jesus.

They made appropriate comments.

We drove on.

All the while, to my shame, I was planning how I could ditch them, for that was my plan.

My offer was to take them down the road a bit – at least to a town where they could get some shelter from the rain. There was no reason I couldn’t offer to take them to the middle of the state and drop them at the Interstate. I rationalized my decision to dump them, and told myself that going down 101 would be better for them…the towns are closer, the people more willing to offer rides.

We arrived at the grocery store. As they got out, I told them that our meeting wasn’t a chance one – that Jesus wanted them to know how much He loves them and wants them to know Him…

…right before I left them standing in the pouring rain in the middle of the parking lot. 😦

Inside I saw some precooked chickens and thought to buy one for them to eat…then talked myself out of it. Instead, I bought a couple pieces of chicken tenders and a couple of bottles of water for myself and left. It was bad. I even used the last $10 cash for the purchase so I wouldn’t suffer from guilt as I drove past them without offering the money to them.

There was another problem, too. They would have moved to the entrance to the highway…and I needed to get on at that ramp in order to continue home.

I devised some alternate routes – take the frontage road north, get back on the highway and drive by; or take the frontage road south and get back on the highway at the next on-ramp.

Imagine my surprise when I had to do neither.

They’d disappeared!

With a sigh of relief at having successfully rid myself of my traveling companions, I continued home.

The next sermon by Levi was his Easter sermon from this year.

In the introduction of his message (entitled An Anchor for the Soul), he began by talking about…zombies; the walking dead at the time of Jesus’ resurrection – and the spiritually dead of today.

To say that my heart sank would be an understatement.

Remember? The couple were on their way to Hollywood to try out for a zombie movie. They desperately needed to hear this message! They would have heard it, had I been willing to give up my quiet travel time and reached out to these two lost souls. What had been my car could have been a delivery room for one or both of them. 😦

This was my opportunity to be a good Samaritan. Instead, I gathered my Pharisee’s robes and ditched them at my earliest convenience.  Oh Lord, I am truly sorry.

The saddest part of this story is that I hadn’t gone twenty miles since Levi’s message began…and drove past a third hitchhiking couple. 😦

Seriously???

The Lord and I had a long talk about this at the rest area. I know that I have been forgiven, but this lesson will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I realize that I’m not the Savior. Getting them saved wasn’t up to me. That part was up to the Spirit. But “how shall they hear, unless someone tell them?” That was my job…to at least share the Good News, and I didn’t. All I could think about was getting back to my selfish solitude.

Divine appointments abound.

Lord, give me eyes to see them, the courage to engage them, and the selflessness to see them as Your loved creation and so do all in my power to share Your love with them. I ask that You send someone along who will take time to share the Gospel with them, and that one day I will meet these two in heaven. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*****

{PS Please don’t lecture me about the dangers of picking up hitchhikers. I’m well aware. I’m also aware that where God guides He provides. I trust Him far more than I distrust any human.}

*****

Oh, and if you haven’t heard Levi Lusko from Fresh Life Church, you can find his podcasts on iTunes. He’s half the reason I’m blogging again. Louie Giglio from Passion City Church is the other half of the reason! Both are fantastic teachers!

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9 responses

1 10 2013
greenlightlady

You did better than I would have done. I’d need an audible command from God to get past my fear of hitchhikers… I admire your courage and willingness to share God’s love with strangers.

Blessings ~ Wendy

1 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

I love a good adventure with the Lord. These usually go better than this one did. 😦

\o/

30 09 2013
kingintraining

Ah Tami I had to giggle at “right before I left them standing in the pouring rain in the middle of the parking lot”, not out of disrespect but because that is easily me! Living in a country so rampant with crime, yup that’s me! But I agree with you that God will protect where He wants us – my gran OFTEN gives hitchhikers a lift with not a care in the world – but they will never step out of her car without hearing about Jesus first. I need to get to that point, and to be very honest, it’s hard

30 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Very hard – especially with everyone warning us about what “could” happen. The crime rate here is high – I can’t count the number of murders this last year…and that’s just murder.

The way I see it, I know where I’m going. What an honor to be in the middle of telling someone about Jesus (which is what I would do) when I step through the veil and see Him face to face!

If we had a better idea of what Heaven will really be like, I think it would pull ol’ Death’s teeth out – and we’d have much less fear!

\o/

30 09 2013
kingintraining

Yes so true 🙂

30 09 2013
Ed

There have been times where I could have shared and didn’t. I had one gentlemen who seemingly kept waiting for me outside of the local grocery store I shopped at. Day after day. He was a real nice gentleman and would always end up preaching to me! But I ended up feeling like I needed to always help him out with money that I needed to feed myself. He kept saying he needed to pay to stay at the homeless shelter. So I took the alternate step and started going to the store across the street for a couple of weeks, until necessity required me to return to the first store. He is no longer there waiting for me.

30 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

\o/

30 09 2013
beverley

The Lord doesn’t want you in danger and so he gave three couples to chose from. We all make choices and once done we all need to live the consequences. You planted a seed and you never know what might happen from that seed, like you said it’s not up to you.

30 09 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comment. 🙂

\o/

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