Father, forgive them. Father, save them. Father, please save them!!!
These thoughts, amongst many others, screamed about in a flurry through my mind all day. Being in “sin city” for work was interesting. On the one hand, seeing the lovely structures, dazzling water works, glittering lights that illuminated this desert city – it was beautiful to see. And walking to the taxi, getting in, and simply looking at the busyness of life showed overwhelming in itself.
And now I sit, most comfortable and thankfully in my hotel room… thinking.
Oh, how the Lord loves His creation. How much so do they belong to Him! How much it must grieve the God of love and justice to see beings created in His image to live rebelliously, without a care in the world and lacking the understanding of knowing the truth.
Lord, You are perfectly wise and good. Imagining a life without you is so empty, and I know it is because I did not truly know you until only a few years ago.
As I got into the taxi that night, the elderly Asian man asked me where I wanted to go.
I said the name of the hotel.
He started driving, and I looked around at the city and people with relative silence (video ads and a sort of Asian-sounding music played in the background). We drove silently past billboard after billboard, the flashing lights that pointed “McDonald’s is here!” or “Sbarro’s here!” I have been here before, but never “alone” as I had this time for work.
Ironic, as this was one city I never planned on coming to, and yet this ended up becoming the first “trip” I went on without my family (that wasn’t really planned/supervised/etc). But I digress.
Do I care about this man’s soul? I wondered to myself. By God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s work in me, yes! And this is likely the only time in my life I will speak to him. So, I prayed and mustered up the courage to say…
Has it been busy today? – me
(yes, I know. fabulous conversation starter, eh?)
Yeah, pretty busy – him
Oh, I see. Are you tired? – me
Yeah, a little bit – him
What time do you work? – me
What? Oh, from 2Am to 2pm – him
Oh wow, that’s a lot. How long have you been driving here? – me
Oh, about.. 13 years – him
And we talked about how he started working in Vegas after getting married. I told him why I was in Vegas and when I was leaving.
Then, there was a silence.
I thought, and then asked, “What do you think about when you are driving people while working?”
He was silent for a moment, then answered with three words.
“Money. Making money.”
Hearing his response made me weep inside. It was brutally honest, and he knew who his master was.
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – Luke 16:13
Lord, without you, I would be thinking like this and never being satisfied. Can he too know the joy of knowing You and obeying You? Would You please, please save him??
And all too soon, the taxi pulled up to the hotel and as I got out, I asked, “What is your name?”
He answered, “Joseph. What about you?”
“Jessica,” I said with a smile and left.
As I left, a thought fluttered through my head that made me want to run back and say something – “Did you know that Joseph was the name of the man who ‘adopted’ Jesus?” But I had already walked through the revolving door of the hotel, and the cab had left.
The next morning, I took another taxi. This time, the conversation went a little differently.
We talked about how he worked in a corporate job and then liked living in Vegas so much he decided to work as a taxi driver.
Do you have any life goals? – me
I’m a little too old to have those kinds of goals, but I’d like to add a patio and fix up the house before I retire. – him
And we talked about other things on the way, and then the convention center I was being taken to came up –
There’s a concrete convention there next week – him
A concrete… convention? – me
Yeap. And sometimes, there are churches that have meetings there too – him
Oh how interesting, I didn’t know that – me
It’s ironic, isn’t it? The location being in sin city and all – him as he pulls up to the entrance
I exit and say, “Well, we are all sinners, aren’t we?” And he agrees gruffly.
So much to think about, and even more to pray about. Las Vegas may be known for sin more than other metropolitan areas, but every place is technically “sin city” because every individual rebels against God in word, thought and deed. LV is known for its more overtness, and makes a business out of it.
Our life is short, and I don’t want to waste it. I want to stand before God and to hear, by grace, Him say to me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I tremble to think of that day! I want to fall asleep each night knowing that God allowed me to use what He entrusted to me to labor for His kingdom, sleeping in a sweet rest, recharged to fight for souls the next day.
And next time, should I ever travel for work, I hope to book hotels as far away from the site as possible for longer opportunities to care about these people who are dearly loved by God but without repentance will receive what they ultimately want – a life without God – and suffer forever where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. I do not wish that on anyone, but for every tongue to praise and glorify His name! How much joy He gives, through the blessings and trials He ordains for His redeemed children’s good and more importantly for His glory!
The battle for souls continues.
By His grace, I want to and will share the best news with people who do not know! I cannot change their hearts, but the Lord can. But who can believe what they have not heard? May that fact ring in my mind as I live my everyday life that has been purchased by Christ’s blood!
Praise God that His love is irresistible!