I have a friend who sometimes stops to help motorists stranded on the side of the road. He carries enough tools in his car to handle basic roadside mechanical issues. And if he can’t solve the problem, he assists them in finding help. Somewhere in his time with the stranded motorists, he always mentions, “If you had known me ten years ago, I would have never helped you.”
That statement always draws an inquisitive question, “What do you mean you would have never helped me?” My friend then shares how a decade ago he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was only interested in his own selfish pleasure and goals. “I wouldn’t have even noticed you stuck on the side of the road. But then I met Jesus and things could never be the same.”
He tells how God cared for him when his own life was broken down on the side of the road. And now he wants to share that love with others.
I thought of my friend’s roadside activities as we explored the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-26. This particular morning we were going around the table during our weekly “hood check” sharing the ups and down in each of our lives. Only this time we were telling about times during the last week when we were aware of living out the fruits of the Spirit…times when we acted out of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And then we shared times when we didn’t.
For some, this might seem to be a hard practice, but for our group at Bud’s, everyone was quick to share stories. Most were about times when they acted loving…when they sacrificially served someone without expecting anything in return. And others were about how they had not acted loving and instead pursued selfish goals. We prayed to God celebrating the times when fruit showed up in our lives and prayed for forgiveness when it didn’t.
And we listened for God.
I remembered my friend and his roadside blessings.