I am dependant on my GPS. But sometimes it just won’t take me the route I want to go. And I don’t have enough directional sense to strike out on my own. Plus gas is just too expensive to go driving around for days. I digress.
Leaving the radio station last night, I asked Steve which way he went home. “I want to follow you.” I said. “That’s a shorter way for me to go, but I am not sure how to do it.” “OK, but I gotta get gas right up here,” he replied. So I followed my friend to the gas station and parked behind his car while he filled up. My mind was filled with thoughts about the show and an incredible second chance story.
This is what I saw.
Steve swiped his card and began pumping gas. A car pulled next to the opposite tank. A slender young man with perfect hair took the gas nozzle off the hanger, swiped his card, and made a face. His hands flung in the air as he turned to the person in the passenger seat. The passenger and the guy exchanged exasperated words; it seemed his debit card was declined. The guy at the pump spoke to Steve, and after a couple of exchanges, the passenger got out, walked around the car and got in the driver’s seat.
Now, this passenger was dressed in girls clothes and wearing heavy make-up, but was clearly not a girl. The passenger, now the driver, backed the car between the pumps, so now their car was behind Steve and in front of me. Then the driver got out of the car and became the passenger again.
Steve finished filling up his own car, then put gas in the stranger’s car. They were chatting a bit, the guy pointed, Steve looked down at his shirt, shook his head and laughed. Steve’s t-shirt read “Real Men Worship God.” Steve placed the nozzle back in the pump. Then my friend looked the stranger in the eye, reached out and shook the guy’s hand.
I imagine I had a stupid grin on my face. I just witnessed my friend put his words into action.
This is what I saw.
I just saw a guy who had no money, was out of gas, who would be labeled a faggot by society’s glance, and who had a partner dressed in drag sitting in the car. This couple I imagine would not be welcomed into most churches. Luckily for them, Jesus was not sitting at the altar waiting for them. The hands of Jesus were waiting at the gas pump. These hands pumped their gas, paid for it, and reached out for a gesture of friendship. These hands met a stranger’s need, paid the price, and made physical contact- without question, without debt owed, without judgement.
The love of Jesus, put into action is what I saw.
‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison [may I add “overdrawn and needing gas”?]and didn’t help?’ He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me- you failed to do it to me.’ Matthew 25 44-45 MSG