The past few days have been learning the art of breaking down on the side of the road. I'm thinking of a whole new series of posts, "what you should do if your car volunteers itself for top dollar from government initiatives." Since the last post the Nissan has died two more times on Legacy and gone through three new alternators. On Monday afternoon its life slipped away for the second time and my mechanic called his friend to tow the car home. I'll call him Henry.
I was hot and sweaty. Not at all in the talking mood--but my friend Aaron encouraged me to share the gospel with whoever tows the car. So with all the power of my now drained Duralast car battery, I agreed.
Henry let me climb right into the cab (I only asked if it was cool after I was in the truck).
In situations like these I usually ask about any points of contact that could bridge over into talking about the gospel. In this situation, we ended up talking about his friend who is my mechanic which led to us talking about family. I was jarred by what he told me.
"Do you have a family--are you married?"
"Yes.......but my wife died 3 months ago."
He went on to tell me that she suffered from a brain tumor that she fought for months in pain until it finally took her life. He said he has a 12 and 13 year old who are functioning ok despite the loss of their mother.
It's not everyday you get a chance to see past the clouds of temporal to the blue of eternal. In the midst of things as common as alternators breaking down, sun-glassed successes on cell phones, and the smell of Marlboro came the uncommon reminder of mortality. The pain still raw. Tomorrow my boys' mom will take them to Chuck E. Cheese for Joel's birthday. His will be getting ready for school next week without their mom--for the first time in their lives.
We ended up talking about Jesus, church, and how he turned to Christ in prison 9 years ago. He talked of the difference that receiving Christ has made on his life--although the love that he experienced in a prison ministry was never replicated on the outside. I invited him to our church. "If you want to find a loving church--you will find it here." I'm thankful I can say that with sincerity.
I was thankful for the life-giving breath of the reality of death on Monday. Every day thousands of people all around us walk away from this tiny, broken world and step into eternity. Even more bow down to it in blind madness (John 3:19; 1 John 2:11; 2 Peter 2:17).
I pass by a thousand Henrys a day who have never been fortunate enough to spend time in prison to hear the gospel. Am I reaching for them (Jude 1:23)?