The Traveler

13 05 2018

The other evening, I was driving through our town district when I spotted an elderly Rock _nman walking quite slowly, one hand gripping a stick to help him along and the other gripping a backpack. Only a few seconds passed when something inside me said go back and help that man. Now I don’t stop for strangers like I did some 30 years ago, but this feeling of needing to go back and see if I could help wouldn’t go away. Circling the block, he hadn’t made much progress from the last place I saw him, and he was more than happy to have a ride. Climbing in the car proved to be a task as his one leg would barely bend, but after several minutes he was seated and we were on our way. It was less than a mile to his destination but I’m sure to him it must have felt like a hundred. The drive didn’t take long but he asked if he could just sit for a spell, and of course he did. At a point like this I generally strike up a conversation to see where it takes me with an individual. I didn’t get the chance! As we sat there he began telling me where he was raised, what college he went to, jobs he had worked, states he lived in and the wives he took over the course of a lifetime, losing everything to an addiction to alcohol. I can’t count the number of ones I’ve met with the same story. After a while you pick up an ability to know when someone is feeding you a line in hopes of getting a bit of charity. But then there’s the occasion you actually run into an individual who’s being legitimate. I could tell this man and his saga were real from two perspectives.  First, he was quite detailed in all that he told me; deceivers usually give a surface detail of their exploits.  The second reason I believed him though was even more compelling. I’ve picked up scores of down-on-their luck sojourners over the years and they always hit me up for some change or a few dollars. This individual did not ask for anything; all he was interested in was sitting there and having someone to talk to.  I have to admit, I really didn’t want to be sitting there so long; I wanted to get home. But the more he talked the more I realized what he needed most at that time was someone just to listen to his story, allow him to regale the high points of his life as well the downfalls. When he finished I took that as my cue to tell him about the love of Jesus. But I didn’t get the chance because he started telling me!! My new friend had made many a wrong turn on his journey through life, but then finally reached the point where he came face to face with grace, mercy, and forgiveness that comes though the knowledge of Jesus as Savior. And any person who was willing to listen to his story was going to hear the good, bad and the glorious of his “Travels of the Rock Road.” Bam!!

This is where I usually have a quote from a famous author, but today the only Author I want to share is one that spoke to my heart and told me to give a ride to that man. And I believe God orchestrated this moment not only for this Brother, but for me. By giving him a ride, I was able to ease a little of his pain, but even more I gave him the opportunity to share himself and Jesus with another. As for me, well I think God was showing me you never know who is out there planting a seed in his Name.

Two verses did come to mind though. Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may eventually become wise.”

“Lord, thank you for sending someone to make me a little wiser.”

After a short struggle in commanding his legs to carry him, he departed my car and disappeared into a building. And as I watched him I was reminded of a song written by my dear friend Don Swanger that goes like this.

“A lone and weary traveler comes walking down the road, in his pack he had a Bible and some food.  Rides are hard to get these days but he’ll be picked up soon, by that sweet Resurrection Train for Home.”

‘Nuf said. Thanks for listening to the best thing that happened to me last week.

See ya next time.


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