If you are from Los Angeles, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that the weather a few weeks ago was ridiculous. It felt like we were in Vegas. (Sorry, Vegas.) It was like summer had decided she didn’t want to leave and was mad at fall for stealing her thunder and then punished us all in the middle of her tantrum.
So in this sweltering heat I parked my car in the same ole parking lot a few Sundays ago and started walking towards the sanctuary. I wanted to do a power walk but it was just way too hot for that. I only made a few steps when I heard someone say, “Hey,” but figured it wasn’t towards me so I kept on walking. A car drove up next to me and the driver rolled down his window. I looked inside to find an older, first gen Korean couple. I thought they were lost. To my surprise, they offered to drive me to the sanctuary because it was so hot. At first I denied the offer like a good, Korean kid (you know, the rule is that they offer but then you deny until they seem really serious about what they are talking about). And then flashbacks of elementary school came into my head. Isn’t it wrong to get in a car with strangers? Pessimism. Doubt. Judgment.
They said it was too hot to walk so they wanted to drive me just up to the corner and drop me off. I know the few friends I told thought the same exact things that I initially thought when offered a ride, but that simple gesture of driving me a block down the street and around the corner really made my day! I’m not advocating getting into strangers’ cars or giving rides to strangers, but I’m advocating friendliness and care. I know there are some places in the world where hitching a ride is not a big deal. But here we don’t do that kind of stuff. It’s dangerous. But what about other things we can do to help others?
The thing about being friendly in a non-friendly world, especially in a place like Los Angeles, is that people may think you’re weird. People will be surprised. God has called us to be loving and kind. He has called us to be servants. This means that we are servants everywhere, not just at for a couple hours at the church local outreach. It means it should exude out of us every day, especially to brothers and sisters in Christ. My church is large so it’s easy to get lost in the mix of things or to only speak to people you know, but I realized that no matter how large or small, church is church and we should act like family. I didn’t even catch their names, but I was so thankful for that short yet thoughtful air-conditioned ride. I think I even walked into the sanctuary with a smile.