The Hitchhiker.

June 4, 2008

I just wanted to share my experience this morning that lifted my spirits.

As I was pulling onto the freeway this morning there was a hitch hiker standing on the on ramp. I pulled over to pick him up. Don’t bother trying to talk to me about the dangers of picking up hitch hikers, it’s not going to work. I’ve always picked up hitch hikers. Hitch hiking was my main means of transportation in college. I always felt blessed by the Lords provision when hitch hiking, so I’ve chosen to be his servant and provide for others in the same way. In the past couple of months though I found myself passing them by because my passenger seat was full of junk and I didn’t have room, or my schedule was tight and I didn’t have the time. This morning I was convicted to see that as nothing more than the lame excuse it was. The poor guy had to wait a couple minutes while I was throwing all my junk into the back seat. I told him I wasn’t going far, but he said that every little bit helps. He said he was on his way to Grand Junction. He had come from Florida and had been on the road for 10 days. He had been offered a job in Grand Junction, but didn’t have the money for a bus ticket.

He asked if the exit I was dropping him off at had a store. I told him no, the Briargate exit has nothing really. He then said he had been hoping to get a cup of coffee to help wake him up. He had slept near the railroad tracks and hadn’t gotten a great night’s sleep. I paused for a bit. What did the Lord want me to do here? I decided I could find this guy a cup of coffee. So I told him my work wasn’t far off the Interstate, if he had the time I’d take him there get him some coffee and bring him back down afterward. He of course said he couldn’t put me out like that, I insisted it wasn’t a problem, it went back and forth until he agreed.

Getting out of the car I realized he had a knee brace on and walked with a cane and quite a limp, so I asked what had happened. Well apparently he was self employed in Florida doing home remodeling for a while when he got hurt on the job. He messed up his knee and was unable to walk for nearly a year, but worked at it and was on a walker for a while and now just using a cane and knee brace. For the past two years he had been earning a living stuffing envelopes at home. The job he was headed for was getting him back into the remodeling business.

I took him to the cafeteria at work and bought him a cup of coffee, and an order of biscuits and gravy. We sat down at a table and had breakfast together. Before I said a thing he bowed his head and prayed a blessing for the food out loud. Then he started to sort of excuse himself for the prayer. I quickly stopped him and shared about my faith a bit and a bit about Focus on the Family. Neither one of us were big talkers, but it was a good breakfast conversation. After watching him eat I realized I should have bought him a double order of the biscuits and gravy.

Then the Lord gave me one more idea. I asked him if he would be interested in using the showers in our locker rooms before he left. I workout at the gym at work and so I had a towel and toiletries. He took a moment. I thought for sure he would refuse. Then he just said “that would be wonderful.” I grabbed my stuff and took him down to the locker room and said I’d wait outside. He said he’d just be 5 minutes. I told him to take his time and enjoy a good long hot shower. He did. It took him about 20 minutes. He looked a lot better after the shower, not just cleaner but he stood a little taller and smiled more. I made a comment about how after spending a while camping, it’s just wonderful to take a hot shower and get clean. He replied that that was probably why Jesus washed peoples feet, and after a brief thoughtful pause he looked at me and said “you know, I think Jesus just washed my feet in that shower.”

When I dropped him off back on the Interstate I prayed for him and he prayed for me and my family. He then thanked me. Not in the usual way that I get thanked though. Most people just say thank you, he said “thank you for being God’s servant today. I appreciate what He’s done for me today through you.” I’ve picked up hitch hikers before that use Christian clichés, and this wasn’t one of those. He was sincere. Something happened between him and God in that shower today.

So please pray for Roger. Pray that his new job goes well. Pray that he finds a house in Grand Junction quickly. Pray that his knee continues to heel. Pray that he finds a good church home.


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