My Cup Runneth Over. For $26.88
We'd rented a car for a few days, as we've got some driving to do and I can save most of the rental charges in gas money, since Peg's Jeep doesn't get terrific mileage. They delivered the little gold Taurus this morning, with 1/4 tank left, so I stopped to fill it up on the way home.
I was just getting back in when I was approached by a tall gentleman who asked if he might ask me a favor. I said sure and he said "I'm not asking for anything in my hand, but I came out this morning without my wallet and I'm about to run out of gas. I just need enough to get back home". I asked how much he needed and he said "Just $4 or $5 .. a gallon and a half, maybe. I'm not a bum or anything."
He was tall and reasonably dressed and his wife was in the back seat of the little white PT Cruiser. Since we're in the South, I'll add this although it's just a statement of fact; he was a black gentleman, and perhaps age 60. So I can imagine the humbling nature of his having to ask.
NOW .... we'd been approached by numerous (apparently) panhandlers at the SBC and I never know what to do. But I was struck by this man's demeanor and expression and everything else and the Lord wouldn't let me get by with leaving. So I went around and did the credit card thing at his pump (adjacent to mine) and told him to get some gas.
He put in about $4 worth and started slowing down. I couldn't keep silent .. it was weird .. and I said "make it ten". He looked at me for a second and said "Aww .. you don't have to do that." I said of course I didn't, but go ahead anyway. He thanked me profusely and started pumping again.
He stopped about $9.90 and said that was close enough, and God still wouldn't leave me alone. I said "Fill it up". I have to say that his expression was worth whatever a tank of gas could possibly cost. I added "The only reason I'm doing that is that Jesus would want me to .. and that I can. And I need to do what I can." He was slow to start the pump again, so I grabbed the nozzle and finished the fillup, to a chorus of "God bless you" from the gentleman.
He asked me my name. I told him he didn't need to know that, it was the Lord providing the fuel, not me.
On the way home, I got into another wrestling match. I think this one was with a different spirit, though. Right in the middle of that, it hit me: God's a lot like that little episode. We ask, and receive a little, and then He gives more and more, and blows us away with His generosity. We ask, but He wants so much more than we even want for ourselves. So how could I do less for this man, who presented a need I could meet.
Downside? Isn't really any, that I can see. If he wasn't exactly who and what he said he was, it's his problem, not mine. And besides, standing at that pump, it wasn't really about him any more. It was about me and my Savior and whether I was going to do what I knew I could, or whether I was going to wish him well and go on my way with all my precious money intact. I'll leave that man with God, which is where I want to be, anyway.
I can identify with David when he said "My cup runneth over". Only in this case, it was a gas tank on a little white PT Cruiser from Birmingham, Alabama.
Incidentally, I almost didn't write this. I don't want to point to me and say how swell I am. I know better. But this was an encounter with God, and I really can't not share it. Maybe it'll help someone to recognize those little encounters in their life, too.