One winter some years ago, a group of friends and I were traveling on a mountain road in a passenger van in the southern United States. It was past dusk on a Friday evening, and we were heading to a ski resort a few hours away. We were nearly there when someone pulled up next to us at a stop sign and motioned to the driver to roll the window down.
“Pretty sure your back tire’s losing air,” he said. “I can take a look if you’d like.”
We parked under a floodlight next to a convenience store just ahead, and everyone got out in bundles of coats and hats.
“I’m Jim,” the man said, as he shook hands and crouched by the tire. “Definitely going flat. See that?” Jim pointed to a visible nail.
Jim asked about the spare tire, then wasn’t too impressed with the jack in the emergency kit so pulled his own out of his pickup and took direction of the work. We were all willing to help, but none of us really knew what we were doing.
“Y’all headed to the slopes?” Jim asked, pointing to the gear strapped to the roof. I told him it would be my first time snowboarding.
“Ouch! Hasn’t snowed since Monday. That ice up there gonna be hard. You really wanna put yourself through that?” he asked jokingly. I chuckled, but not too confidently.
Jim was a fast worker and the spare was soon installed.
“All rightie. God bless you guys. Y’all have fun, now.—And I’ll pray for you to get that fresh powder you’ll be wanting.” He raised his eyebrows toward me.
As he drove off, I noticed a bumper sticker on the back of his truck. “Christ is Lord,” it said.
Jim hadn’t preached a sermon, but he’d let his Savior’s light shine through him. He hadn’t talked up his faith, but he’d walked the walk. And his example of Christianity, taking time to help a vanload of somewhat clueless strangers on a freezing dark evening somewhere in the mountains, is one I still remember.