I looked up and down the inner city street, suddenly quiet from the usual rush of traffic. I needed a taxi in a hurry and, in this city of over 60,000 taxi drivers, not one could be found. I began walking quickly to a larger thoroughfare, quietly asking for the provision of a quick, safe ride home. I had classes to teach at my university in a couple of hours. I spied a taxi some distance ahead, stopping to set a passenger down, so I sprinted and got there just in time. Falling into the back seat in relief, I gave hasty directions to the driver.
With my eyes closed, I thought back over the morning’s errand—a kind of ‘mercy mission’ to take some necessities to an elderly patient in hospital. To fit this in before classes began I had decided on the luxury of taking taxis there and back. On the way in, I had shared the gospel with the taxi driver and left him with a little booklet to read. When I first arrived in this city, I had heard about the plight of taxi drivers and their relentless schedules which gave little opportunity to hear the good news. I’d decided then that if I ever paid to take a taxi, I would share the love of God with the driver. But today, I’d already done that, and I was tired and needed to be rested for my classes.
“What if this driver never hears of Jesus?”
There was a niggling thought in my head, though. What if this driver never hears of Jesus? This taxi had been a timely provision for me. What if God had appointed this driver to hear the good news today, and I didn’t tell him? What is stopping me, really? I kept wrestling with my need for a rest and rationalising my excuses. Finally, I opened my mouth.
The taxi driver was friendly, and listened intently as I shared with him the core of the good news—the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the forgiveness and eternal life he offers. “Have you ever heard this before?” I asked. “No, I haven’t,” he replied. “Well, not completely. The passenger just before you was a Christian too, and she started to tell me but her journey came to an end too quickly. So I didn’t hear it all.”
I was stunned. This day, the Lord had appointed two of His children, in a city of 22 million people, to talk to this taxi driver. And he had prodded me until I’d opened my mouth. The driver continued, “And I want to know where I can find a Bible. I’ve been trying to find one for a while but I have no idea where to look.” I couldn’t believe my ears at hearing this earnest desire. There are a lot of bookshops in my city, but a Bible is hard to find.
“The love of God compelled me.”
His enthusiasm grew as we talked. As we drew up to my high-rise apartment block, I took a risk. “My apartment is up there,” I said, pointing to the second-highest floor. “I have a spare Bible up there, in your language. Would you wait for me to get it for you?” “Really? Yes, of course! I’ll wait here as long as it takes!” he replied. At my apartment I made a beeline for a hidden drawer under the spare bed and drew out the precious book. I added a Jesus DVD, also in his language, to the gift. The driver delightedly accepted the materials I offered with a sincere “thank you” and a promise that he would value and peruse them all.
I never saw him again. I don’t know if I’ll see him in heaven, though I hope I will. But I know that on that day, the love of God compelled me, along with another of his children, to share the grace of the Lord Jesus with one taxi driver who had a searching heart.
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all.” 2 Corinthians 5:14
Julia has lived and worked in Asia for over twenty years.
Names have been changed.