He told me his name, or at least what he claimed it to be. These days, who knows. It was a Friday, and my family and I determined to take the day off, our first one in many weeks. But as is seemingly always the case, we somehow ended up needing to come to the church for a few hours anyway.
We saw him when we began to pull up the driveway; he was carrying a backpack and appeared to be in his mid-20s. As I exited the car, leaving my family locked inside, I greeted him and asked if I could help him. He was lost, he said, and needed a ride into the city. How exactly, I wondered, does an individual get lost on Highway 74 miles from anywhere that remotely resembles a city?
Nonetheless, I had him wait there, then I took my wife and kids inside. A few moments later, I came back out and gave him a ride into town, eight miles away. Yes, believe me, martial-arts training and gun in pocket notwithstanding, I know how dangerous that is. And no, I would never fault anyone for not doing as I did. The world has become a very dangerous place, and people rightly feel the need to be incredibly careful. But for whatever reason, I felt strongly impressed by the Holy Spirit to give the young man a ride, and so I did.
He was a wanderer, and a wandering soul. He had no direction geographically or spiritually.
Obeying the Lord in that matter, though, gave me the opportunity to talk to a clearly troubled young man about the Lord. Is there anything more important than that?
It was just a 15-minute ride, but God gave me 15 minutes to tell someone what Jesus could do for him. Looking back, that may very well have been the most important 15 minutes of my day and maybe the most important 15 minutes of that young man's eternity.
As a pastor and evangelist, I am often confronted with people who are wrestling with some of the deep philosophical questions of life. Normally, though the questions are numerous, they can be boiled down to just one: What is our purpose in life?
Since we did not just happen, since we are the special design of God and not the random fluke of evolution, we humans do, in fact, have a purpose.
And for the born-again child of God especially, that purpose is not at all vague; it is actually very specific. It is not something we must struggle to ascertain; God informed us of it in no uncertain terms.
Matthew 28:19-20 says, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Mark 16:15 says, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
It is called the Great Commission. It is God's command that believers in Christ intentionally evangelize the world, both those that we seek after and those that God himself in his providence brings across our paths.
I will likely not know until I get to heaven what became of my passenger on that day, but I prayed for him, hard. He is a precious soul that the Lord loves, so much so that he died for him. He is so very dear to the Lord that God redirected our plans for a day off and had us show up at the church just in time to meet him.
I will very likely not see the young man again until we are in eternity. And it is my hope that then, he will be carrying a crown to cast at Jesus' feet rather than a backpack to get him to the next shelter.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.