Tag Archives: hitchhikers

One Missing Crescent Wrench

Story of the Day for Thursday December 1, 2011

One Missing Crescent Wrench

                 Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with each other? 

                                                                      Malachi 2:10

When I was young I picked up a couple of hitchhikers.  We were driving down a dark, lonely stretch of road when the guy next to me said he was going to kill me.  (Not to ruin the suspense or anything, but he didn’t.)  They did, however, promise to rob me, and they were faithful to their word.  They went through my glove compartment, found nothing memorable, and finally settled on stealing my crescent wrench lying on the passenger side floor.

 

Whenever we break a promise or betray a trust, we are creating more than a single incident of disappointment for someone.  When someone puts their trust in us and we let them down, they now become less likely to trust others.

Have you heard the old story of the Bedouin who was riding his camel through the desert?  He came upon a stranger who said he was stranded, and asked if he might be able to ride with him on the camel.  The kindly Bedouin was happy to help him out.

They had not ridden long together before the stranger threw the Bedouin off the camel.  As the stranger fled on the camel, the Bedouin shouted after him, “I am not so much angry that you stole my camel, as that, from now on, it will be harder for me to help a stranger who is in need.”

 

As a society, and even more, so as a body of believers, we live in community.  Healthy communities are founded on trust.  Loren Morse wrote to Reader’s Digest about his friend, David, who moved from the big city to rural Maine. David went to a store to rent a rototiller.  He was told the rental fee was not based on how many hours he had the tiller, but on how many hours he actually used it.

David was confused, “How will you know how long I’ve used it?”

Puzzled, the owner said, “You tell me.”

Life is so much more refreshing when we’re are able to trust each other.

 

Sadly, communities can break down.  Every lock you buy testifies to the insecurity we live in when we can no longer trust each other.

 

We cannot control the climate of the community we live in.  But we can influence it.  Jesus said, after all, that we are the salt of the earth.  You don’t have to trust everyone, but you can become a person others can trust.  And even if we have failed to be trustworthy in the past, God’s mercy provides you a new day, and a new start.

 

And, although I never do it with my wife and kids in the car, and though I don’t commend the practice to others, I still pick up hitchhikers.  Helping others get down the road has been well worth the price of one missing crescent wrench.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Wonderful People

Story of the Day for Saturday October 1, 2011

The Wonderful People

                    Don’t judge by how things appear. . . 

                                                                   John 7:24

 While waiting for her flight, a woman bought a book and a package of cookies and took a seat in the airport terminal.  As she was reading she noticed the man sitting next to her began fumbling with her cookies.  He opened the package and helped himself to one.  She couldn’t believe it!   Not knowing what to do, she reached over and grabbed one of her cookies and started to eat.  And then it happened again, he grabbed another cookie.  The woman was not about to let a stranger eat all her cookies so she grabbed another one.

With one cookie left, the stranger broke it in two, gave her half, and walked away.

Still fuming, she reached into her purse to get a tissue and . . . there was her unopened package of cookies.

 

As a matter of fact, I have developed a cool theory based solely on judging by outward appearances.  I think I can tell how liberal or fundamental a congregation is by the shape of the cross on their church.

If you see a church with a big, fat cross: they’re probably fundies.  They usually don’t paint their cross, but if they do, it’s black.

The loosey-goosey liberal churches have really skinny crosses.  They’re usually made of metal.

If the cross is real ornate, that means the church is probably real stodgy and ritualistic.

And so on.

I know I’m not supposed to judge churches simply because of the kind of cross they put on their church.  But I do.

 

Do you do that kind of thing?  Do you ever find yourself judging the character of someone based on the length of their hair or how they dress?

What do we do about that?  After just confessing my habit of judging the theology of congregations on the basis of their church crosses, you’re probably not looking to me as the ideal source for advice on this topic.

I’m not the ideal source, but here is what I do.  I haven’t learned to stop making judgments about people based on appearances.  Some day, I hope I will.  But until then, what I do is learn to recognize those areas where I tend to draw hasty conclusions, and then go out of my way to prove my initial judgment false.

 

Today I picked up a hitchhiker. Hitchhikers, as we all know, are bums who are either too lazy to work or losers who lost their driver’s licenses from too many DUIs.  (Are you getting the picture here?)  So, my goal is to prove how wrong my assumptions are.

Guess what?  I’m discovering that most hitchhikers are kind, or down on their luck, and are humbly grateful for the ride.  The guy I picked up today broke his back and is strengthening it by riding his bike.  But it hurt so bad that he had to leave it at a car dealership and hitch a ride the rest of the way to town.

You wouldn’t believe the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure to meet since I started treating people this way.

                                       (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)