Recently, I had a meeting about 100 miles from my home with my district superintendent, Orville Jenkins Jr. Because I am a new pastor on the North Florida District, we are just getting to know each other. During our lunch he shared with me some amazing stories of lives transformed by the power of God through people who love and care for others. When I hear stories about people who are so drastically transformed, it inspires me, and I want to see things such as this happen again through my ministry.
As I was driving home from the district office that day, I was impressed to pick up a man who was hitchhiking on the interstate highway.
Having just heard those amazing stories, I sensed the timing was just right to stop and help a fellow person in need. My hitchhiker's name was Wayne. As soon as he got in the car I could see and smell some of his problems.
Wayne and I had lunch and then went shopping in a nearby Christian bookstore. I provided him a clean T-shirt since his was dirty after he had slept under the bridge. What was only going to be a 90-minute drive back home ended up being a 6-hour journey with my new friend. Before I left Wayne at his "refugee camp" behind a coffee shop in Orlando, we shared the joy of praying together. I know Wayne felt the love of God that day as did I. I'm grateful that I stopped to help him. The story he shared with me was intense and heartbreaking, but I know God can transform Wayne. Together, we discovered hope that day. He knew the Word of God in knowledge but struggled to apply it, by faith, in action.
Once again, I was reminded that God sees the incredible potential in each person's life.
If only we could see through the eyes of the Almighty. How many times do we miss out on great new stories of the lives God wants to touch simply because we are too busy to notice the people God places on our paths? All He asks is that we make ourselves available.
If Orville Jenkins had not shared those stories with me I wonder if I would have been aware of the life I was passing by on the interstate. Sometimes, in stepping back from the press of the crowd, we may see the one who is reaching out for the hem of Jesus' garment (Luke 8:44). Each life is important to God and needs to be important to us.
Peter Migner is senior pastor at Deland, Florida, Church of the Nazarene.