It isn’t every day I get to spend 8 hours in my car. (This time it was a turn-around trip to an important wedding 4 hours from home, the daughter of my longest-friend.) A one-day road trip offers some nice perks, though: uninterrupted time for praying, thinking and listening to music. Clear weather and light traffic made driving pleasant, and I had Lee (my Aussie GPS buddy) to guide me.
Starting the trip with a gasoline stop, I decided to track my Highlander’s mpg. I’ve put 42,000 miles on this faithful vehicle in 18 months and wanted an excuse to brag about it.
Forty miles into the trip, a silver Honda Civic pulled up on my left, leveling off with me and tooting its horn. Trying to keep my cool, I didn’t look. Surely this person wasn’t inviting a race.
But the tooting continued, so I glanced over, thinking it must be a friend. The driver was waving her arm, pointing to the rear of my car and shouting. Although nothing about my car seemed amiss, I wondered.
“What?” I mouthed, hoping she’d repeat herself, and she rolled down her window. By now a line of irritated cars was following both of us, like we were the lead vehicles in a Grand Prix, but I opened my window, too. Over the rush of wind, I understood her shouts.
It turned out my little fuel door was open with the gas cap blowing around on its wire, not a major crisis but the cause for her heads-up. After nodding a thank you, I worked my way to the shoulder and corrected the problem.
Back on the highway, I thought about this kind stranger and the scores of other drivers who’d passed me noticing the dangling gas cap but chalking it up to a middle-aged woman’s wacky driving. “Thanks for nothin’,” I thought, until God’s heavy hand tapped me.
“Are you kidding, Margaret? How many times have you gone out of your way to help a stranger like Honda-woman just helped you?”
As always, he was right, and I was selfish. Over the next 40 miles I checked every gas cap I passed, hoping to repeat the good deed for someone else. But of course God has more in mind than mere duplication. His idea is that we lend a hand on a full time basis, not for credit from strangers but to please him. After all, this is the example Jesus set.
An hour later at a bathroom stop, I got my first chance. The restroom was sparkling clean except for one paper towel tossed on the floor. I picked it up and put it into the trash, a teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, mini-good deed.
By the way, my Highlander clocked 23 mpg, and if I can keep the gas inside the tank, next time it may do even better.
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds.” (Matthew 5:16)