A Story from India
Steve with some boys from the slums of India.
Steve takes lots of moments during his trips overseas to demonstrate to people that they are valued as bearers of God’s image, regardless of how their society treats them.
Here’s his story:
“We had a long drive coming back from a full day, my eyes were closed and I was resting my head on the back of the back seat as we bobbed and weaved through the Indian bedlam called traffic. The Holy Spirit nudged me to not waste this “contained” time with this driver.
I was tired, and under the effects of some supposedly “non-drowsy” cough syrup. A tad bit numb if you know what I mean. Not on my “A” game. Well, I am learning that is the time God can finally use me for something special.
Through Paul as my interpreter, I told the cab driver I thought he was a good driver. Surprisingly to me, that simple complement was a door that swung the man wide open. From what Paul translated back to me, the driver had been made to feel like less a human just because he was the “driver”.
The driver is a nobody and is just a servant of those that hired him. He stated that he appreciated that someone noticed that he was not just a “low man”, and that being a driver didn’t make you any less a person.
From there we asked him if he thought he was a good man. That took some unpacking to help him see himself as God sees people who haven’t had their sins forgiven. We then introduced the need for “payment” for a transgression.
It worked perfectly that he was a driver and WE owed him the fee for the day’s worth of driving. He tried to pay for his sins by “going to church” at times, even though he couldn’t remember the name of the church he visited.
The Holy Spirit immediately gave me the parallel illustration of us trying to pay the driver for his services by just washing his windshield…and we would be willing to wash it “a hundred or more times”.
“Would that be enough cover the cost of your car and driving services?”
After Paul’s translation, the answer came back, “No…” and Paul said, “he did realize that his going to church was not enough to pay for his debt.”
We continued to share that if Paul had hired the car and when the driver came to my house and Paul didn’t have the fare, I could step in and pay for Paul’s obligation. But Paul must be willing to accept my payment or he will be left to deal with it all on his own.
We then asked if he wanted to have some one come in an pay for his debt. The challenge was I believed we couldn’t use the word Bible, or even God (Hindus have 330,000,000 gods and so they totally believe in …god, but that could be misleading since that name means something different for them.)
But you can’t avoid Jesus when presenting the Gospel! So I said in my heart, “Ok Lord, here we go, I’ll pull the cloak off if that is what you want (and I’ll trust that you have this in control).”
The driver had heard of Jesus, as I could tell by his conversation back to Paul. We then shared that Jesus was calling him to become part of God’s family and have his sins all paid for.
“So, would you like to have all your sins and penalty payed for?”
The answer came back…”YES!”
“Well, He can do that right now if you want. You can pull over and we can pray to Jesus to accept His payment.” Paul translated that line, and I am sure he added what was necessary to communicate culturally what was being proposed. There was not too much comment back from the driver. Paul was also silent. We drove for maybe a mile or so in silence.
I couldn’t just let this go, I really wanted to see this guy accept this wonderful free gift. What to do now? Where to take this conversation?? So, I asked Paul, “Well, what was his answer?” Paul responded, “…he is trying to find a place to pull over.”
I was so jazzed.
We finally found a place to pull over and Paul led the man in a sinners prayer. We congratulated him and he pulled the vehicle back onto the road.
After a few minutes, I wanted to ask a question to see if he really understood what he had done. I asked, “So, when the day comes that you stand before God and he asks you why He should allow you in Heaven, what will you say?”
Here is the moment of truth! “…because Jesus has made me clean.”
Yes, that is million dollar answer, “Jesus has made us clean.”
Paul then encouraged this new believer what were the next steps and how he needed to continue this new life. Later, when we stopped, we all got out of the car, driver included, not knowing his language, I stuck out my hand to shake his, and before he grasped my hand, he pointed up to heaven as if acknowledging he was now part of that family.
He shook my hand and we went our separate ways. I will be most pleased when we meet again up in Glory and we finally get a chance to communicate without an interpreter.
Because of Jesus, the “nobodies” of India are somebody. Because of your support of ITMI, more of them know it now.