To make the before-services meeting of the men who will be serving that day, we usually leave our house about 7:45 every Sunday morning. One Sunday we passed a hitchhiker at the four-way stop a couple of miles from the house. He was an older gentleman, decently dressed, holding a sign that said “Gainesville.” So we stopped and picked him up. We understood that he was taking a risk too, so as he settled into the backseat we mentioned that we were on the way to church and pointed out our stack of Bibles next to him. This instantly set him more at ease, and he talked with us some.
He was on his way to work at Sears, a good thirty miles from the corner where we had picked him up, and several miles opposite where we were headed. He didn’t have to be there till noon, but since he did not know how long it would take to get a ride, he had left his house on foot at seven-fifteen and made it to the corner where we found him. His car had broken down and he was only able to buy a part a week as his paycheck came in, so until he fixed it, he was hitching rides.
“But just take me as far as you can and I’ll thumb another ride and another until I get to the bus stop in front of Wal-Mart. If I make it there by eleven I can get the bus I need in time.” We took him all the way to Wal-Mart.
Now just imagine this: you find out your car doesn’t run on Saturday. You live way out of town where no one else does. How early would you be willing to get up to hitch a ride to a nine o’clock service? That isn’t the half of it, people. What other things do we miss doing for the Lord because we aren’t willing to make a sacrifice like that, because it’s so easy to say, “I can’t?” This man was nearly 70 years old, yet he spent nearly five hours every morning getting to work, working a whole nine hour shift, and then more hours getting home after work—in the dark. Have you ever gone to that much trouble for the Lord?
The next Sunday the man was once again at the four-way stop. We picked him up and dropped him off at Wal-Mart, after inviting him to sit with us at church till eleven, with an offer to take him straight to Sears afterwards. He politely declined, and also declined to tell us exactly where he lived when we offered to pick him up and take him to work every day. But he did tell us that his wife had died several years before and he had lost all his savings paying for her medical care. “I have to have this job,” he said. “I am only six payments from paying off my mortgage, but without a paycheck I will lose my home.”
Ah! There was the real motivation. He didn’t want to lose his home, an old double wide on a rural lot. He got up at 6:30 every day for a job that didn’t start till noon, so he could be sure of getting there. And he did it so he wouldn’t lose a humble, barely comfortable home.
We have a home waiting for us too, far better than that man had, a home that is eternal, “that fades not away.” He didn’t want to lose his home. Don’t we care whether we lose ours?
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God, Heb 11:8-10.