I was getting ready and leaving my house under a familiar feeling of urgency this morning as I am usually running late. However, I was pleased to discover that I was leaving my house with almost 30 minutes extra time! My elation and surprise were followed by a sinking feeling when my car indicated to me that the tire pressure was low in my front passenger tire. Easy fix, just head to a QT and get some free air; after all, I have extra time this morning!
When I arrived at the QT another car was parked in front of the free air machine but no one was in it or around. I quickly parked close enough to put air in my tire and keep it moving. As I was finishing up the owner of the vehicle approached. She was a young black woman who needed to change her tire and had walked across the street to an Advanced Auto Parts for a lug wrench. I offered to help knowing in the back of my mind there’s not a whole lot I physically know how to do, just theory. She declined politely explaining that she had changed lots of tires before. As I sat in my car I watched her struggle to loosen the lug nuts. At one point she stood on the lug wrench but it was not budging. I got out of my car and offered to help pull on one side while she pushed on the other to try to get it to open. When we failed I suggested to go inside QT and ask an employee for help playing the ‘Damsel in Distress’ card. She chuckled and agreed.
Before we entered the store I saw a young white man standing near his company truck, a plumbing business, and I asked him for help. He obliged and attempted. When he couldn’t get the lug wrench to budge either he suggested going across the street to a tire and oil change shop. His boss approached, and older white man and also attempted to help. Unfortunately none of us were actually able to help the young woman get the lug nuts off her car or change the tire. I did manage to give her an invite card to church and stumbled through telling her that I was one of the youth pastors and I host a group out of my home nearby if she had children, she said that she did. I mentioned something about how being at church had changed my life and removed fear. She thanked me and took it. Then I hung out in the parking lot, watched and made sure that she made it across the street to the tire shop. That was it.
So why am I sharing this extremely long story? I wanted to pray. I wanted to call Jose to come help. I wanted to follow her across the street to the tire shop and make sure that she got help. I wanted to offer to pay if they charged her for anything. But none of that happened. Whether it was my own shyness or not the Lord’s leading, I don’t actually know. As we are pushing invite culture we have to stretch ourselves and we have to be willing to take even baby steps to make what does not come naturally to us become easy and natural. We have to be willing to not get it right every time. We have to be willing to come across maybe a little awkward, and stumble over words. This was not a supernatural moment as I would judge it. The glory of God did not rain down on this woman or her tire, I was not granted supernatural strength, revival did not break out at the QT where this woman got saved as well as everyone else in the parking lot. But as much as I can focus on everything I didn’t do, I have no way of knowing what impact those small actions may have had for her. It would be interesting to hear her side of the story as she would tell it from her background and life experience and her perspective.
I believe that the boldness will come and I believe that only through practice and getting it wrong and learning will invite culture take hold of our church. And one day we will see revivals happening in parking lots and restaurants and stores but it’s not going to come without us working out that that muscle and putting into practice at any opportunity no matter how small.