Tonight I’m overwhelmed. Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Kenya for 10 days on a medical mission trip. I can only imagine the things that I will see and the way that God will change me.
Tuesday night, I heard a sermon at 12stone college night based on being Jesus to people. I don’t think that was coincidence considering my upcoming trip. God is already preparing me for this opportunity, I can tell. Wednesday, after being asked as a collective group if we were being Jesus to people, I got my chance to show Jesus. On my lunch break from my clinical rotation, I was headed down the road and I came across a man walking down the interstate. I drove on past. But then God started talking. I could tell that I was supposed to go back and give him a ride, wherever he was going. Driving past him wasn’t going to show Jesus’ love to him. Driving past I was just like every other car that had passed him that day. When I came across him, it was around 12 o’clock. He had been walking from Atlanta. And from Habersham county to Atlanta is around 80 miles. That’s a lot of cars. None had stopped except for me, and even then it was on a second thought, a prodding from God. So I turned around. I pulled over and asked the man if he wanted a ride he gave me a big smile and said sure. After he told me his name, he told me he was walking from Atlanta to West Virginia to “start a new life.” But he wasn’t dressed for that long of a trek. He had the clothes on his back. No book bag, no suitcase or anything. He asked me how far I was going on the road and I told him that I would only be able to take him to the gas station. So we pulled into the gas station and I gave him 20 dollars that I had for some food. He shook my hand, hugged me, and I could tell he was on the edge of tearing up as he walked into the gas station. I scrounged my truck for anything that I could do without, or anything that I thought that he might be able to use. I had my bag packed with some of the stuff that I would be taking to Kenya in the back of my truck so I found a clean pair of socks, and gave him one of the spare t-shirts that I had from the fundraiser to help send me to Kenya. Then I saw a spare water bottle that had been rolling around in my floorboard since I had gotten a new one, and a can of peppermint candy. As he walked inside, I rounded up the rest of the stuff that I had found that he might be able to use. I walked in and asked someone sitting at the table if they had seen a homeless looking man, given that’s what he resembled with his tattered outside layers of clothing, and they told me he was washing up in the bathroom. When he came out I gave him the socks, peppermint, and water bottle that I had filled up. And as I handed it to him he told me that he had thrown his two outside layers away and had put on the shirt I had given him. I told him that I wished that I had more to give him, or that I wished I could have taken him farther than I did as he put his new socks on, outside on the curb. While we sat there and talked for a little while, a well dressed man parked in front of us and walked into the store, and back out again, practically stepping over us without a word either way. I told him, Andy was his name, that God loved him and then I went on my way.
I don’t know if the man passing us outside on the curb was a Christian, I don’t know if the hundreds of cars passing Andy on the interstate had Christians in them, but I’m assuming that they did. How many times do we pass by someone in need? How many times do we turn our heads when we see something that we could do? I’m in no place to judge, or to tell anyone what to do, but I think something needs to change. And this was the basis of the sermon that I had heard the night before I was tested by meeting Andy. People need Jesus. People need to be shown Jesus. And we’re the ones that need to show them. Love people like Jesus did. Isn’t that what we’re called to do? People need to know that someone out there loves them. I wonder when the last time that Andy heard that someone loved him. I don’t know his past, but I assumed that it was pretty ragged, but isn’t everyone’s? Don’t we all want to hear that we’re loved, unconditionally?
The sermon really struck me hard on Tuesday. And I think it was God getting me ready for the mission trip this coming week. I don’t think that there is a better way to tell people about Jesus that imitating Him, given most people learn better from watching, or physical learning rather than just hearing. When people see can see Jesus shining through those who follow Him, I think they can understand who He is, and the love that He is. I pray that I can be Jesus to everyone that I encounter from here on out, Kenya this week and Georgia the week after, because there is an extreme need for Jesus in this world. I think we can all agree on that. Let’s show them.