It Pays to Watch for the Signs Along Our Way

By Curtis Shelburne: CNJ Religion Columnist

Last Saturday morning I enjoyed a marvelous moment.
My younger brother, Jim, (also a pastor) was here to purchase and take possession of a really nice-looking little pickup I’d found for him. My neighbor was selling his Ford Ranger pickup. Kent Wiley takes better care of his vehicles than I ever did of my children. Kent had offered me the truck, but if my No. 4 son goes back to Africa in January as he hopes, I’ll drive Josh’s truck. I don’t need another one sitting around eating payments and insurance premiums, so I called Jim.

We had a good visit on Friday evening, drank coffee and had breakfast on Saturday morning, and then Jim was ready to do business. Right then. “Let’s get this done. Been good seein’ ya, but I gotta go.”

I understood. Sundays almost always follow Saturdays, and preachers on Saturdays are like coaches before Game Day, starting to pump extra adrenaline. Jim was under the gun timewise both because of the usual Sunday prep and also because he needed to visit a bereaved family back home.

So we scurried out the door to walk, I thought, down the hill of my yard and across the street to Kent’s house where the shiny red pickup sat out front. That’s when Jim said, “You wanna ride in mine or yours?”

My first reaction was, “Huh?” But then I got the picture. I opened the garage door and said, “Hmm, let’s just take my motorcycle.” I’d been hoping to get him on the motorcycle, but I figured he was in too much of a hurry and maybe, at his increasing age, just a bit too stodgy for it. But my opinion of him went up as he muttered assent and something like, “Okay, just don’t kill me.”

I thought it would be fun to fire it up, warm up the engine, mount the bike and roar about six inches down the hill to Kent’s driveway. But then I realized the fun should be longer than that. So I warmed it up, we climbed on, and I took the boy all over town, showing him the sights of the Greater Muleplex, until he shouted over the engine, “Good grief! I thought Kent lived nearby. I’m not sure I could find my way back to your house even in Muleshoe!”

“You’ll be okay,” I said. Then I motored down 20th Street where he quickly recognized our house and soon saw the red pickup sitting across the street. The light went off in his brain, glowed red in his eyes, and then, respected clergyman that he is, he called me something I won’t mention here. When the sale was made, I asked if he wanted to follow me home. He snarled.

As we travel through this life, sometimes we just miss the road signs along the way. The sign saying “THIS IS YOUR TRUCK, JIM” was pretty much emblazoned in red right across the street from my front door and the beginning of our journey. Jim just happened not to be watching, and I’m glad he wasn’t.

But it would be a real shame to close our eyes to the signs God puts in our lives and all through his written word pointing to the good news of his son.