I glanced down at my gas gauge and noticed it was almost on empty. Hmmmm…. better stop for gas on my way home. I was driving near my old hood and remembered there were 2 gas stations close by. Suddenly 2 memories flashed back at me. Late one night, a drunk man jumped out behind a pump and asked me to buy him 4 hot dogs for his kids because the station wouldn’t take his out of state EBT card. The other, was another drunk man who bear hugged me on my way out of the station’s store. Aggghhh. So grateful that I have moved and don’t have such interesting late night encounters. Maybe I don’t want to stop here. I’ll just wait till I get home. In my safer and much cleaner neighborhood. Ha!
Eh. Its 6pm. Just pull off at this exit and hit the Holiday at the top of the ramp. It certainly can’t happen again. Not at this time of night. Besides, its really busy you big baby! I got out of my car, swiped my card and started to fill my tank. I then stared off into space and just smiled to my goofy ass self. It had been a good week and on the drive home I had been thinking of all of the things I was grateful for. Now gas is under $2 bucks a gallon? YEEHAW!
EXCUSE ME. MAAM? Aggggghhh!!! Startled, I jumped and gave out a little scream. I then turned to look behind me, to see a young 20’ish man with long hair. “Oh God! You scared me!”. He looked upset and replied, “Sorry maam. Didn’t mean to startle you. See that car over there at the next pump? That’s mine. My card was declined, my car is on empty and I have no cash. I just need a dollar. Could you give me one so I could put some gas in my car?” “Sorry, I don’t have any cash on me.” The young man looked like he was going to cry “Ok” and walked towards his battered and rusty car that looked at least as old as he was.
I laughed to myself and thought, yep, you should of just driven home. I turned and continued to pump my gas and suddenly heard the Holy Spirit say “pre-pay some gas for him.” I thought, Huh? But what if it is just another scam?. He replied “What if its not?” Dang! Well at least the guy isn’t drunk and trying to hug me. Nah. I don’t need to give him money. Besides I don’t need to go inside, I already paid. I am sure someone has a dollar for him. I put the gas nozzle back onto the pump and as I screwed my cap back on, I noticed him walking back from another vehicle. I called out “Did you get any money?” He shook his head, no, and he looked really distraught. “Ok, what pump are you on? I will pre-pay $5 for you when I am inside.” His face lit up “Really? Thank you so much!”
I got inside and walked over to get something out of the cooler. The Holy Spirit whispered “Pre-pay $7.” I smiled. Ok. Whatever you want Daddy God. My heart softened even more as I thought, he is someone’s child and he needs help. I am glad I am here. I paid for my drink and then pointed outside and said to the cashier “see that car on pump 7? Pre-pay it $7 please.” The cashier smiled and took my money. I am sure the clerk was glad I was helping the stranger, because I can only presume that the guy, in line, in front of me was not the only person complaining about him.
When I walked out, I could see the young man waiting in his car and can only imagine if he was wondering if I had really pre-paid for him of if I had changed my mind. As I drove away, I stopped by his car and yelled ” Hey I pre-paid $7 for you. Lucky $7. I hope that it is lucky for you.” I have no idea why I said that, but I did. He laughed and a look of relief crossed his faced. “Thank you so much for helping me! This is a small car and that will put a lot of gas in it. I am so happy to be able to get home! Merry Christmas to you!”
As I drove away, I thought about how God puts people in front of us, all the time, who He wants to help. Healing, Encouragement and yes, sometimes we need to open our wallets and take a chance that it isn’t another scam artist and maybe….. just maybe….only another human being that needs some help. I am so glad I felt prompted to stop and didn’t give into my fears. Now $7 isn’t much money to me or to most of the people I know, but to this young man who was trying to get home it was worth so much more. He only asked for a $1 and the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to give him 7 times that! Our God is so generous and we will never be able to out-give Him. Not in anything.
I imagine this young man will have a story to tell someone tonight about getting gas from a stranger. I am sure he was grateful that he didn’t have to continue to beg for a $1 just to drive home on fumes. For me? I feel really grateful for the opportunity to help AND I didn’t even have to mention Jesus! Isn’t it great to just help someone and not use it as an opening to invite someone to be saved? I believe as we continue to grow in Christ, we just learn to step out AS Him, instead of trying to SELL Him! You know, as in dropping His name into every encounter so that the person we are ministering to KNOWS it was Jesus? We have all been guilty of that.
Just be Jesus! Can’t be any more simple than that!
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words…..Francis of Assisi