Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Selflessness, Interviews, and Naked Taxi Cab Drivers

Matthew 5:40
If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.

A couple of years ago I had joined my husband on residency interviews as he was looking for a place to land a job after graduating from school.  Usually the interview process is really intense, full of questions, conversations, and a whole lot of professionalism.  The dress code is top notch, suits and ties are a must- and even ties of a certain color.  You never want to stick out too much, or blend in too much.  

But through that entire process, I heard a story that changed my life.  A story that I will never forget as long as I live.  

At one of the interview dinners, we met a young man who had just completed his 2nd year of residency.  He was grateful for the opportunity to be at the hospital that he was currently working at.  And he told the story of the person who made it happen.

A couple years ago as he made his way down the interview trail, there was a snow storm that delayed his flight into Baltimore.  Due to that delay, he had to switch flights at the last minute in order to make it to his interview the following morning.  Fortunately, he did land.  Unfortunately, he landed at 2 in the morning...only to find that his entire luggage had been lost- tie, suit, shoes, and all.  

On his way to the hotel he was making some frantic phone calls in the taxi, trying to make contact with friends and family to think of a way he could avoid showing up at this interview in a sweat suite (a sweaty one, at that!). 

He reached his hotel to no avail, discouraged, tired, and feeling quite helpless.  As he got out of the cab, the taxi driver got out with him, and began to undress!  You can imagine the reaction of this student- unsure to what was going on.  

"I want you to have my suit", he said, having overheard his conversation from the driver's seat.  

And he proceeded to strip down to his boxers, giving the young man his shirt, suit, tie...and even his shoes.  

The young man was humbled, embarrassed, and amazed at the generosity of this complete stranger.  He gratefully took the suit, with tears in his eyes, and hugged the taxi driver goodbye.  

Just hearing that story changed my life.  

I was so challenged to really consider what message I am sending with the way I live my life.  We as Christians talk about being thankful and grateful during this Thanksgiving and Holiday season.  Thank you Lord for what you have given me, thank you Lord for all of your blessings...while clinging on tight to our belongings and being selfish and self-absorbed.  Turning an eye to the poor and needy, and living in our little bubbles of blessing.  What is the point of thanks-giving if we hoard our blessings to ourselves?

I was so challenged by the heart of this taxi cab driver- who was so willing to go above and beyond to meet an immediate need...though it was the need of a complete stranger.  This was the heart of the taxi-cab driver, what then should be the heart of a Christian, of a follower of Christ?

Does my life reflect that kind of heart?   This is my challenge this holiday season...to step out of my bubble of blessing and actually do something with what I have been given.  To hold it with an open hand, and to live with an open heart.  May you be challenged to do the same. 

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