The Driver

by Rhonda, December 17, 2023

I climbed into an Uber on the way to the concert.  It was cold outside, and I was rubbing my hands together to get some heat back into my circulatory system.  The driver in the front of the car had a unique accent as he asked me a few questions.  He asked me where I was from, what concert I was seeing, and how my night was going.  Sometimes when I'm in an Uber, I'm in a chatty mood.  Other times, I'm not.  This night, however, I was feeling chatty.

"Where are you from?" I asked him.


I searched for a great response but struggled.  "Wow," I said, "well, welcome to America."  It was lame at best, but I couldn't come up with anything better.

"Thank you.  This is the greatest country in the world," he said, "and I thank God every day that I am here."

"Is your family all okay, all safe?" I asked him.

"Yes," he said.  "Thanks to God, they are all here, and they are all safe.  Can you believe my country has been at war for over twenty years?  Its is terrible."

He went on to tell me about his personal story, his displacement by the war, and his eventual service with the US Marines.  His story was a heroic one, this unknown Uber driver earning a living while driving tourists. He'd seen atrocities that my eyes have never witnessed, and he'd risked his life to save his family.

I wondered if I could be so brave.

All thanks, he explained to me, belongs to God.  "It was not my bravery, it was God's courage that got us through it."  

Do you ever think about how many unsung heroes are simply walking around, in our midst, and we have no idea they're heroes?  I was so engrossed in his story of his life that I was actually sorry to get out of the Uber.

"May God bless you," he said as I exited the car.  He pulled back onto the road, off to pick up his next passenger.  He had a wife and two children at home to take care of, after all.

Every time I have an interaction like this, I know it isn't an accident or mere coincidence.  God loves to get my attention, and He knows I love hearing people's stories, so that's one of his favorite ways to remind me of His presence.

I think about that Uber driver from time to time.  He was so content.  So grateful, with his country music playing and his pride in America.  I think about the reality check that it gave me, the reminder that my life is a blessed life.  Do I really live in a space of gratitude for it?  Do I express true contentment with my life?  Or are my eyes only focused on what I don't have, and what's coming next?

Through the course of my professional career, I've gotten to be in the orbit of some very wealthy people.  I watch them closely, interested in learning about how they experience life.  But, I have yet to find one that isn't human.  The wealthy have wrinkles like the rest of us.  They have relationship problems like everyone else.  They experience the world as human beings, just like we do.  Aren't we striving for some sort of nirvana that doesn't exist when we're not content with our lives?  No one is leading a perfectly fulfilling life.

I bet most of the wealthy don't have the joy of my Uber driver, jamming out to his country music and living in a place of total gratitude for his savior.  All of the money, accolades, and success brings nothing but momentary excitement.  Only God gives long-lasting joy. 

So, what are we striving towards, really?  What would life look like if we pursued God as much as we pursue money, awards, or recognition?  How would it feel to just be content and grateful for what we have?

Well, for one, a lot of the pressure comes off.  If we're not having to continually strive towards worldly goals, we will spend our mental energy appreciating blessings as they come our way.  There's less stress in our everyday lives.  When we understand what we truly need versus what we want, we'll often find we already have what we need.  We can live in a place of gratitude instead of a place of deficiency.  Paul calls this mindset "great gain".

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world

But, there's also another big benefit.  We're less selfish.  We're not so worried about getting ahead, and we're more considerate of others when we live in a place of gratitude.  We continue to understand our needs have been met, so this focus on our striving - our struggles - goes away.  We don't have to constantly think about ourselves anymore.  We live more generously, and we're less competitive and more empathetic towards others.

Contentment and gratitude make us more like Christ, whether we're driving an Uber or doing anything else in this world.

And, being more like Christ is always the ultimate goal.

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