Just over two weeks ago I paid my annual contribution for to the Dutch organization for Road Assistance. I was not happy with the sizable amount I had to pay. But yesterday I concluded that, after all, it was money well spent.
Minutes after leaving the compound of the office of the Adventist Church in the Netherlands, where I had participating in a meeting, I found I could no longer use my clutch and thus I could not shift gears anymore. I succeeded in letting the car glide to a safe spot, where I could wait for help. After having gone through the inevitable menu of the Nationale Automobile Association, that also deals with technical assistance, I was connected with the department that organizes technical help for stranded drivers. Having provided all my membership details and having described my exact location, I was told it would probably take about an hour to get someone to me. But already within twenty minutes I saw the yellow car with the well-known WW-logo coming my way. The technician saw immediately what the problem was and also that he would not be able to fix it. But I was lucky. This particular type of car of the Road Assistance carries a small collapsible trailer, on which the front wheels of my car could be fastened. As a result the car could be transported safely. The technician was willing to take me and my car to the garage in the place where I live—a distance of some 40 kilometers, and then to take me to my home address. I am still impressed by the kind of efficient and excellent service.
While we were on our way to deliver the car to the garage an interesting conversation developed. The technician told me how he had recently assisted a Catholic priest. This priest had told him about his work and also that he had recently written a book. As a gesture of appreciation the priest had actually sent a copy of this book to the technician’s home address! I responded by informing him that he was now sitting next to a pastor, and that I had also written a few books. I promised him to follow the example of tmy Catolic colleague and to send him a book of mine as a thank-you-gesture for his excellent assistance. So, this week a copy of one of the devotionals that I have written will go in the mail to him.
Later that day it occurred to me that Christians should, in fact, also provide some kind of road assistance—ready to help people who find that they cannot no longer shift gears as they travel along the highway of life. I am, in particular, thinking of people who have embarked on the road to the Kingdom, but for some reason have stranded and do not know how to continue. Or, to make it even more explicit: I am thinking of people I know personally quite well and who have come to a full stop on their spiritual journey. This raises the question: “Does my church have a good mechanism to discover these cases, to determine their spiritual coordinates, and to set a process in motion to ensure that these people are found and can be “pulled” to a place where they can find help for their problem?” And more specifically: Am I sufficiently alert to get involved when this is needed? Maybe we can learn something from efficiency of the system of this Road Assistance organization. (And in any case: My technician had the required “people skills” to allow him to start another career as a good pastor!)