John 20:21 (NIV)
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Jerry’s teenage son Tom had a car with a very loud muffler, and since Jerry works fairly close to the Cole Muffler shop, he decided that he and Tom could exchange cars for the day. “I’ll take yours and drop it off at the muffler shop this morning,” Jerry explained. “And Pa” (Tom’s grandfather) “can pick me up there and give me a quick ride to work.” The plans sounded fine. As Jerry was leaving, he gave his father a call.
”When are you leaving for the shop?” his father asked.
“Right now,” Jerry said as he slid behind the wheel of his son’s car.
“I’ll meet you there,” Pa said. He was a retiree, always looking for ways to help others.
The muffler was even louder from inside the car, and Jerry was relieved when he pulled into Cole’s. He didn’t see his father’s car anywhere. “I was a little closer to this shop than Pa was,” Jerry said. “So I thought it would make more sense if I waited for him in the lounge.” There was just one young man and a little boy in the lounge. The dad was reading a magazine, but the little boy smiled shyly, and then looked at Jerry with curiosity. Jerry realized that, since the child and his father were African-American, perhaps the child was not used to seeing white people like Jerry.
“For some reason I just wanted to make him feel comfortable,” Jerry says, “so I smiled, and asked him a question. He told me his name, where he went to school and what subjects he liked best. Then I started talking.” But instead of the usual small talk, Jerry felt prodded to cover some topics he had never discussed before.
“For some reason, I told him about black and white people, and how God created all of us, and He didn’t care what color we were,” Jerry says. “I had never had a conversation like that with anyone.” The child seemed to hang on Jerry’s words while, all along, his father continued to read the magazine. “I told him how bad prejudice was, and to stay away from anger, and to be compassionate because we are all brothers and sisters,” Jerry says.” The boy stared at Jerry, his eyes huge. It was as if he were hearing all of this for the very first time.
Suddenly Jerry realized how much time had gone by. Where was Pa? He’d be late for work now. Jerry called his mother. “Where’s Pa?” he asked. “Did something happen?”
“Your father has called here twice,” she scolded him. “He’s been sitting at Cole Muffler for at least a half hour waiting for you. Where are you?”
Where was he? Jerry went outside to look at the sign. It was Monroe Muffler, not Cole. “I really screwed things up this morning,” Jerry said to his mother. “Please tell Pa I’ll be there in about ten minutes.” What a dumb thing to do! He thought, as he went back inside the lounge. He was angry with himself for making a mistake, and thought he should leave right away. But he also felt compelled to say goodbye to the little boy. He went into the lounge again, and this time both the child and his father stood up. The young man came towards him. Oh no! Was he angry that Jerry had spoken so personally to his son?
But no. The young man was putting out his arms, and wrapping them around Jerry. "I don't know how to tell you this,” he murmured, “but you have made my day."
The young man’s eyes were filled with tears, and the child looked at both of them with awe. Jerry started to protest…after all, he had just made a dumb mistake… “And then it hit me,,”Jerry says. “It was not a mistake. It was a mission, given to me by God.” For some reason, Jerry had been part of an answer to prayer. He would probably never know the what and why of the situation, but he had done what he was supposed to do.
The young man read his mind. “God works in incredible ways, doesn’t he?” he asked, then took his son by the hand and left the room. Jerry stood there for a moment, gathering his wits about him, and waved back at the little boy..
Sometimes God takes us out of our way to minister for Him. Are your eyes open to see the mission God has before you?
Dear Lord, we thank You that You are there to lead and guide us. Help us keep our eyes open so we can see what You have before us so we don’t miss the opportunity to serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.