“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:44-45
I wanted to share an experience I had right before Christmas. I say this not shame or criticize, but as a reminder for us all as to how we as Christians should act toward our brothers. I also realize my grief was caused by my own actions. Even if you don’t want to listen to me whine about my bad day please read the last three paragraphs because it’s something we as Christians should never forget. I drive or should say drove an older car with a lot of miles on it, and due to my negligence it was a little past due for servicing. It was my last day to work before being off for Christmas. It was a really rough 12 hour day. I probably looked pretty rough from working all day and I know I did not smell all that great from sweating all day. By the way it was a Sunday. My job requires me to work every other Sunday and my bill collectors assure me that it is in my best interest to do that.
So I get off work and at 7:00 pm and it’s 15 degrees outside (for any northern readers that I may have 15 degrees will translate to painfully cold here in the south). I live about 50 minutes away out in the middle of nowhere. My commute this day was along back roads and was going fine until my car overheated, blew a head gasket, and spit water (and defiantly not enough antifreeze) all over my windshield. Knowing that there was a small country church up the road where I could park, I limped my car along for about another half mile. Church was still going on so I sat in my dead car which was extremely cold due to having to drive with the window down to see. Oh and my dumb self left with a sweater but no coat that morning.
After about 30 minutes which felt more like an hour to the then shivering me I managed to get a hold of my wife on my cell phone and ask her to come and get me. She is still about 30 minutes away and had to finish cleaning up the church after a play and dinner before she could come get me. I tell her I’m fine and didn’t have any where else to go to at the moment.
Then I see some hope, church lets out and people are going out to their cars. One couple pulls over and asks me if I need any help. I tell them my car has broken down and I wanted to make sure it was alright to leave it there till morning when I could get someone to come and help me tow it. They tell me the pastor is still in the church and to go and talk to him.
I take off my cap and head in the church. I want to remind everyone I look like a man who has worked for twelve hours in a hot and sweaty factory. There were about ten people in the church and I ask where their pastor is. They point me to an office down a hall, and I go to ask if I can leave my car. I asked the pastor and he said that was fine and then he went back to watching a football game on the TV in his office. I stood there for a second and he did not say anything else so I went back outside. Okay I realize I could have asked if I could wait inside, but in my eyes that would have been rude on my behalf.
As I waited outside the rest of the congregation came out and left, nobody saying a thing to me. When the pastor left he stopped and asked if somebody was coming to get me. I said yes and he said have a good night and drove off. A little while later my wife and father in law showed up and carried me home.
I sat in a car for about 2 hours with no coat and no heat in 15 degree weather. I couldn’t feel my fingers and was shivering uncontrollably when I got into my wife’s heated truck. I realize I should have carried a coat that morning and I should have taken better care of my car. I even realize that I could have asked to stay in the church or sit in someone’s car.
The more I thought about it though, the more I thought about what would have happened if it had happened at my church. If a stranger walked in and needed help would no one stop to see if there was anything they could do to help. Would no one offer to sit there and talk with this person? I started to think, what if that person who broke down in my church parking lot did not know Jesus? Would I not invite them into the church and share the gospel with them. What if that person died that night and I was the last person God chose to share the news of His Sons sacrifice with them? I think it bothered me more than nobody asked if I knew Jesus than the fact that no one would help me with warmth. Comfort is temporary souls are eternal.
We never know when God is going to send us someone who needs us or needs to meet Him. Let’s all keep that in mind and be found faithful.
I want to say again that I’m not judging this church but it caused me to judge myself and how I treat others. Maybe that was the reason it happened is so God could open my eyes a little better.