I left for work this morning thinking it would be a typical commute. But no. There was an unexpected detour to the auto dealership because today I was the smoking vehicle. You know, the one you pass and think, “Wow, don’t they know there is smoke billowing out of their car?” Well, let me clear that up. We don’t know.
I cruised down the interstate making great time until traffic slowed near the downtown corridor and I noticed a car emitting smoke. I wondered if it was a result of the temperature (much like seeing warm breath on a cold morning). Right about that time the smoke cleared for that car, I noticed that there was smoke rushing out from under my hood like students leaving school for summer break.
Fast forward three hours. I’m riding along with the driver who is towing my car to the dealership. I’ve just explained how all of this is a God thing. How He used a broken brake light on Friday to bring the failing brakes and dying battery to my attention before my weekend trip. And how my getting sick on Saturday had prevented me from experiencing this trouble late at night far from home. How the delay in roadside assistance allowed me to join every client meeting I had planned for this morning.
He said that man called God really knows what He’s doing.
At the dealership, I borrow the microwave and chat with a couple of the employees before taking my leave to go into the waiting area. Later, I check on status of my car and run into the gal I’ve just met in the break room. In front of several service managers, she asks what my shirt means. My “I am second” shirt. I say it’s about putting God first instead of myself and that wearing it reminds me to really do that. I also add that with a day like today, it’s helping me keep the right attitude.
Even with my surprise at the smoke and my concern over the dashboard alerts, I was as prepared as I could be for today’s dealership detour. I had dressed warmly, packed a lunch, charged my laptop/phone and carried auto insurance. As a result, I could have worked effectively most anywhere (but thankfully I landed somewhere warm with wifi).
The apostle Paul’s life was full of detours, but because he was prepared to share his faith with those he encountered along the way, he made a huge impact for the Kingdom. He was on mission, whether via shipwreck or prison. He consistently spoke the truth as revealed to him by Jesus, and God took care of the rest. Reading the New Testament, I know that what seemed like unexpected events were really divine appointments designed to spread the Good News.
I’ve missed far too many assignments in my life, so today I want to start living on-mission all the time. A first step is learning to talk more confidently about Jesus. God is in my comfort zone, but saying His name really begs the question: What are you going to do about this Jesus? And that may well be the reason for my next detour.