Several years ago, my oldest son Joe and I were driving on Interstate 85 in Atlanta. It was just a little before dusk. Atlanta’s notorious rush-hour traffic was over, but there were still plenty of cars on the road.
All of a sudden, Joe started yelling,
“Dad! PULL OVER! PULL OVER! PULL OVER!!!”
I was in the 5th lane from the shoulder of the road! As quickly as I could, I started pulling over a lane at a time. I had no idea what he had seen, or what the emergency was.
When I got to the shoulder, I pulled the car to a stop.
Without a word, Joe immediately jumped out of the car and started sprinting down the shoulder of the road behind us. I could see in my rearview mirror that there was a car about a quarter mile back. But I was too far away to see any of the details or what was happening.
(My sons: Joe, Me, Clint, and Brock. Joe is on the left.)
About five to seven minutes later, I saw Joe running back up the shoulder of the road towards our car. He opened the door, jumped in and said, “Okay Dad, let’s go.”
“Son, what happened?” I asked.
“Oh, I just saw an old man back there trying to change his tire. He looked too old to be doing that so I thought I’d just go back and help him. So I did.”
Just matter of fact, as if there was nothing unusual about jumping out of a car on the busiest highway in Georgia. He said it as if he was telling me about the price of pork futures. As if everyone would do something like that, and it was not unusual at all.
And I thought to myself, “That’s Joe. That’s exactly who he is. He sees someone in need, and just takes care of it. It epitomizes his character and shows the essence of who he is.”
It’s funny that all these years later, I remember this incident. Why? Because it’s extraordinary! It’s not the norm—but it should be.
As a father, I’ve taken the role of teaching my sons very seriously. My job is to talk to them, instruct them, and lead them by example. But very often, they’re the ones who are teaching me.
Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
We can be generous with our time, our talents, or our finances. I believe God is okay with any of the three that we choose. And I also think that the world would be a better place if more of us thought like Joe.
Keep your eyes open. There are opportunities to serve all around us. Ask God to open your eyes—to be a little more like Joe–and a Samaritan who you can read about in Luke 10-25-37!