I was riding out with one of the troopers with the Texas Highway Patrol when he asked me how I typically spend my work week. As I responded to him, I removed one of the words in the question. I took out the word typical. I don’t have typical weeks. Sermon preparation is a weekly reality for me, but outside of that routine many of my duties are very unpredictable. I can make a do list for a given day, but one phone call will place that list on indefinite hold.
I actually enjoy the unpredictable aspect of my job. I am of a mind that the best opportunities to serve people are delivered in an unexpected form. After taking a group on the tour of The Granbury Christian Service Center recently, I received an inspiring piece of correspondence from a friend that reminded me of that very fact. Here it is:
-Just after our move to Granbury my husband at the time left us on Christmas Eve. I was out of town at my Mother’s funeral – I stopped for gas on my way home – the card was declined. After numerous attempts to find my husband, I called a neighbor who said “didn’t you know? – He moved out yesterday”. Imagine my shock and with twin girls in the backseat wondering why Mommie could not put gas in the car. And – to top things off both girls had not had lunch yet & honestly – I can’t remember having a single dime on me that day. A stranger saw me crying and saw the girls in the backseat. He paid for my gas to get home & bought the girls some snacks. I still say there was an angel at that station, but God only knows that part or how we even survived the rest of the trip home.
That man just thought his task for the moment was to fill his car up with gas. Little did he know that an opportunity to help a stranger in a terrible predicament was about to present itself. He obviously acted quickly and decisively. Of course I know that he helped out a wonderful person and two precious children. But he didn’t know anything about the stranded stranger. She could have been a con artist for all he knew.
A routine trip to fill his car up with gas became an opportunity to be of service in a profound way. They were abandoned in the true sense of that term. A young mother is helpless and vulnerable. Who do you call in a strange city under such circumstances? Obviously an angel was “on call” that day.
I am thankful she shared this story with me for a number of reasons. But I am particularly taken in by what this narrative reminds me of. It prompts me to focus on what a privilege it is serve people in unexpected ways. Next time one of my troopers asks me what I do during the week this is what I am going to say: I get up every morning and prepare for the unexpected. And furthermore I choose to love every minute of it!