May 9, 2007

Monterey Taxi

2007 1513 page31 capn a business flight to Monterey, California, I asked the Lord for an opportunity to encourage someone, and to share something about Him. Since I was eager to share, I was disappointed when I boarded the plane in Baltimore to find I was surrounded by a group of Japanese travelers who spoke very little English. I continued my prayer for an opportunity.
At the conclusion of the conference I made my way to the Monterey airport, only to discover that my flight was overbooked. After some discussion, the airport personnel offered to pay for a taxi to get me to San Francisco. They informed me that I would not miss my connecting flight from San Francisco to Baltimore, and that I would simply be in a taxi for 90 minutes instead of a plane for 40 minutes. They also offered a free round-trip airline ticket for my inconvenience. Being the logical person that I am, I accepted the offer!
As I walked out of the airport my thoughts turned to God, and my desire to share more about Him. Once in the taxi, I asked God to guide me in my conversation.
The driver (I’ll call him Joe) and I began to chat. I soon learned that Joe was 65 years old, and that his family name was of German origin. I mentioned to Joe that I had been in Germany the previous month for work. Joe asked about my experiences in Germany. I told him about the places I had visited, and concluded with the fact that my only challenge was all of the smoke in the restaurants. I added that I didn’t fit in completely because I didn’t smoke or drink, but I managed.
2007 1513 page31“Are you Mormon?” Joe asked.
“No,” I answered. “I’m a Seventh-day Adventist. Have you heard of Seventh-day Adventists?”
“Yes,” he said. “Adventists are angels.” He then began to tell me his story. His twins were born prematurely (about 40 years ago), and were ill as a result. The children had to be taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center because of their serious condition. While at the hospital, Joe and his wife learned the children would have to stay there for several days. This presented a problem for them because they didn’t have the means to stay in a hotel, and didn’t know anyone in the area. A nurse at the hospital learned of their difficulty and spoke to an Adventist friend who owned and operated a motel across the street from the hospital.
The motel owner offered to let Joe and his wife stay at the motel at no charge, he remembered. It seemed to him that the Adventists he met were angels to provide for his family as they did. Throughout their time at the hospital, they were treated with care and concern.
Then he abruptly changed the subject.
“But there’s one thing I don’t know much about and that’s the Sabbath. I know Adventists worship on Saturday. You’re an Adventist. Can you tell me about the Sabbath?”
For the remainder of the taxi ride I had the privilege of telling Joe about the Sabbath. We talked about Creation, about the joy of the Sabbath day’s rest, that Isaiah says all mankind will worship God on His holy day throughout eternity (Isa. 66:23). I explained all the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit brought to mind.
After answering his question, I encouraged him to read the Bible and learn firsthand what God has to say to him. Before we parted he indicated that he was going to try to read the Bible more.
I learned several lessons from my taxi ride with Joe. First, that God answers our prayers in ways beyond our imagination. If we ask God to show us whom He wants us to talk to, He will answer our prayers; but it may not be at the time we think.
Second, that showing God’s love in little ways may not be recognized immediately. But loving as Jesus loved will make a difference—even more than 40 years later.
Finally, God sometimes throws in a free airline ticket when answering our prayers! God can do more with 90 percent of our income than we can do with 100 percent.
Tony Williams writes from Columbia, Maryland.