This morning I went for a drive. Part of the trip was on my schedule, part of it was not. The first 20 minutes was, the next 60 were not. This morning I gave a ride to a young man who was in need of a ride home. He has made some very poor choices in life and freely admits them, and his last poor choice has left him many miles from home and more than likely in some legal trouble.
I first met him on Monday when he showed up at our church to use a phone. He ended up using the phone, for what turned out to be a very heated and profane conversation, followed by a cup of coffee, some Panera sweets, and some prayer time with Vicar Jorge. I again saw him and spoke with him yesterday as I saw him walking through town, in the same clothing from the day before and seemingly lost. After a 5-minute street-side conversation and a promise to keep him in prayer he was off again.
This morning he was at the church when I arrived this morning, looking for a cup of coffee, and a phone. I was able to offer him both. We spend a few minutes talking and after his phone call, I asked him what his plan for the day was. He explained that he needed to get home and have a face to face with his parole officer. After a few minutes in my office in prayer, I decided that I should offer him a ride, so I did.
He was headed in the same direction that I was going, albeit a bit further down the road. As we left and began our 1-hour car ride, he made casual, though seemingly uncomfortable conversation. This was followed by silence until he asks the question “Why would you do that?” Caught off guard I asked him “Why would I do what?” “Give me a ride home?” In a response that came quickly, I simply said: “That what Jesus would have done.” This caused him to pause for a bit, me too to be perfectly honest.
“Jesus would have given me a ride?” I tried to explain to him, that what I knew of Jesus, he certainly would have given him a ride, or perhaps taken the day and walked with him to his home. I went on to explain that we all have made some poor choices and we all need a break, a chance to be forgiven and to move on. I was hoping this would be a chance for him to move on.
We had already talked about what he needed to do, and what his next steps on the journey were so I dropped him off to an astonished “Thank you so much, I can’t tell you how much this helps.” and a quick prayer of blessing for his next fresh start. Now I’m sitting in a coffee house near my final destination, waiting for lunch to be over for my next visit. My quick and to the point answer to his question in the car has left caused me to reflect on his question as I move forward with my day. “Why would you do that?” I hope my answer will always be as quick and direct as “What what Jesus would have done.”