This past Monday morning as I was heading up to the local coffee house, the Lock 'N Key, I took my usual route. I headed toward the downtown area of Georgetown by turning left onto Champion Way and then out to U. S. 62. Something odd happened as I got to the junction of Champion Way and 62. I was following a school bus which stopped at the light and let a car go by before turning right. As I was approaching the traffic signal I noticed that the light was still red and that nothing at all was coming from the left on 62. I happened to glance in my rearview mirror and saw a SUV coming up behind me.
As I got to the light, I stopped before turning right. That's when it hit me, literally. I am serious. It hit me. The SUV rammed into me from behind as I stopped at the light before turning right. I could not believe that someone would rearend a vehicle when the light was so obviously red and the law clearly states, "right on red after stop." I put my car in park and got out to see if there was any damage. I really did not expect to see any as I was not hit that hard and my air bag didn't deploy.
The driver of the SUV got out also and joined me in looking for possible damage. That's when he asked the million dollar question. "Why did you stop?" Now consider this for a moment. I am a preacher. I have been chewed out by my membership over the years because they have seen me drive too fast, roll stop signs and not use my turn signal. I have somewhat learned my lesson and realize that the sign you obey may be the one that a lost person sees. Then I realized that the man who hit me was one of the local Baptist ministers.
He continued, "There was nothing coming. I could see it and I'm sure you could see it. Why did you stop?" I slowly organized my thoughts as I considered how to respond to this man. I pretended to not know who he was and said, "I stopped because I was a Christian and I was concerned about my witness to you as someone who might see me and think me careless." He replied, "I'm a pastor. I didn't give it a second thought." I told him I was a pastor, too. We decided that there was no damage so we got back into our cars and went our separate ways.
The number of times that I have resented being held to a higher calling than others are many. I have learned from those the meaning of Paul's encouraging statement to the young evangelist, Timothy. "Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12 Following the laws of the road is one way to do that. People notice the little things; stopping at stop lights, signaling your intentions, being a courteous driver. As Christians, if we fail to perform these things, we fail to witness. Be careful. The person you don't rearend might be the next one God wants you to win.
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