March 1, 2021: The Passenger
“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36, NASB).
I was pastoring in Denver and my wife had to work almost 2,000 miles away in New York. Lonely, I sometimes looked for new activities to enhance my ministry. Uber driving seemed fascinating. I wanted to know more about inner city culture, so I experimented. In general, we isolate from people in our community, mostly because their lives are so different than ours.
I picked up my first rider very late at night. He was a restaurant worker. As time went on, riders and experiences grew in number. There were young people going to parties, others attending professional sports games. I remember prostitutes, senators, high rollers and so many others. Mental images of hundreds of stoned youth still cause me to weep.
One night, I picked up a passenger and started to his destination. Halfway there, he suddenly turned, looked at me and said, “You’re a pastor!”
I was startled. How could he tell from my street clothes?
He continued, “I just beat my wife back there, and I’m so ashamed! Please pull over.” I did as he said, thinking he’d get out of the car. Instead, he gave his heart to Christ right in the front seat of my car. Then he instructed me to take him to the local police station, where he turned himself in.
Once we have compassion that moves us from our comfort zone, the Holy Spirit can do amazing things through us. Do we see people as Christ sees them? If not, perhaps that is our starting point in serving others.
Lord, give us compassion to share You through word and deed. Amen.
Roy Weeden is the district pastor of the Williamsport, Milton and Lock Haven churches in Pennsylvania.
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