Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Friday Appointment

My parents and my grandmother came up this weekend for a high school graduation party for one of my cousins as well as to attend the dedication of my second son, Noah. It was going to be a busy and fun weekend (also being Father’s Day), and I was looking forward to it with much anticipation.

I was at work on Friday and decided that it would be nice to get home early and spend some extra time with my wife when my boys would be (should be, anyway) napping as well as to play with them for more time than I am usually able to. So, I took a ½ day off work and was heading home in quite a good mood. This all changed at about 2:20 when I was still in the city.

I work in downtown St. Paul, and like any city of decent size there tends to be quite a lot of traffic when people are heading home. As I was no more than 1 or 2 miles north of downtown, I noticed an opening to switch lanes and so I took it. The only problem was that the car in front of me decided to stop really quickly just before I was able to make it out of the lane. Translation: I clipped him, and caused the first ever car accident in the city.

Now, as an aside, I am so thankful that I have not been in a car accident prior to this for as much as I drive on busy and crowded roads. And if I counted the actual numbers of close calls that I have experienced, I don’t know if there would be a greater amount involving me as a driver/passenger in a car or as a pedestrian in the city. All of that to say that I am actually a little surprised that it took almost 5 years of working down town for anything at all to happen.

The Details of Accident:

The basic description about this accident is that Car B rear-ended Car A. I happened to be driving Car B. When I think of rear-ending someone (especially on the Interstate in rush hour), I imagine one or both of the vehicles having a severely damaged car. In my case, the only real damage was a broken head light, and the car in front of me was hit no harder than I was (obviously), but his rear bumper popped off of the frame of his car. Now that may sound really bad, but I looked at his bumper and saw that it had only attached to the car by a few (maybe 6) bolts, and those were probably plastic. Thankfully no one was hurt, and neither car was seriously damaged (other than cosmetically). Also, the accident occurred in the right hand lane, so it was very easy and safe to pull onto the shoulder to take care of the necessary paperwork.

What else?

I have to tell you, that if you are ever going to be in a car accident1 then this was the exact one that I would have picked. Other than the reasons that I stated above about the minor nature of any damage, the driver of the other car was so calm, polite, and just plain ‘ol nice that I couldn’t help but be thankful right on the spot. Joe, the other driver, was a young guy who had never been in a car accident before, and I replied, “Yeah, I’ve never been in one that was my fault before.” After we exchanged insurance information and I had called the police, I had a great idea. I was going to try and witness to Joe. Now, I admit, asking someone if they think that they’re a good person right after you are the reason that they will be late for work and inconvenienced for a while may not be the best time to do it, but I had no idea if this kid would live another day.

Well, by God’s providence I didn’t get my opportunity because at that moment a car with flashing lights pulled up behind us. Apparently, there is a group of people who must monitor the police scanner and are to be the first ones on the scene of an accident. The guy who got out asked if we were ok, checked our cars out to make sure that they could be driven, and then was going to wait for the police. Well, I had a few minutes and I honestly cannot remember if I was formulating a way to talk to the driver, the first responder (I don’t know who this man was or who he worked for), or what but before I could do anything the first responder recommended that we (the drivers) sit in our cars to wait for the police. So, my desire to witness to the other driver was slipping away.

A few minutes later the police showed up, and I was not about to exit my car unless asked to. You see, I think that cops are a bit hesitant about people getting out of their cars (with good reason) when they are on the job. He was very methodical about getting the information and writing out his report. As the officer was doing this, and after he had a chance to survey the scene, Joe and the first responder were busy trying to connect the bumper. This failed, and so they had to put it in his back seat.

Well, the officer came back to give me the report, tell me what I needed to do, and to advise me that he would stop traffic for us to get onto the road in a few minutes. After he did the same with Joe, I was really getting disappointed that I hadn’t had a chance to witness to him when he came back to my car. Joe and I shook hands, and exchanged some pleasantries similar to “have a good day” and “too bad this happened” as well as “nice to meet you” and I knew that I had my final opportunity. Since I didn’t have time to verbally witness to him, I decided to give him a tract. I said, “Hold on, I’ve got something I want to give you.” I pulled out my wallet because that is where I humorously keep my Million Dollar Bill tracts2 and I saw that it was empty (both of real money and fake money). I then started sifting through my back pack and, fearing that he would walk off or get confused and edgy, I said, “Don’t worry, I’m not trying to buy you off, or anything….” I found a loose tract, pulled it out and said, “Well, sorry for the trouble, but here’s a Million bucks for your time.” He looked at it, laughed, and said, “Thanks and have a good day.” He then went back to h is car and we both drove off. I hope that he read that tract and that it causes him to examine himself.

Unfortunately my next stop was not my home, but it was to the insurance office. I knew that I had to give them a copy of the report, and I wanted to take care of everything as soon as possible. Now that I was in the tract passing zone, I purposed to give one to the person that I spoke with at the insurance office. My time actually spent there was so short, that I went in handed the form off, and gave the lady a Million Dollar Bill tract and said, “Happy Friday, have a great weekend.”

I left the city and went home and felt a sense of joy that I was unhurt, Joe was unhurt, and that it seemed like there would be no serious financial headache that would arise from the ordeal, but more importantly I was so happy that I took the opportunity to be faithful as a witness for my God in a small way.


Sharing the gospel with anyone just takes the personal initiative of making a point to do it and taking and making an opportunity. It is no different than reading the Bible, praying, or brushing our teeth. We must make a point in our day to be purposeful about doing these things; otherwise they will never get done.

1 I use this term with a bit of a smirk on my face because it was truly an accident, neither of us was driving recklessly, and it was so minor that it is almost laughable to refer to it with the same phrase that fatality incidents are described.

Text on the back of the back: “The Million Dollar Quesetion: Will you go to heaven? Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, ‘Whoever lokos upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart.’ Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on judgement day? If you have done those things God sees you as a lying, theiving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. The Bible warnst that if you are guilty you will end up in hell. That’s not God’s will. He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. Jesus took your punisment upon Himself – ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.’ Then he rose from the dead and deveated death. Please repent (turn from sin) today and trust in Jesus, and God will grant you everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.”

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