The Jaguar Man.
My many experiences hitchhiking in the 1970s incorporate the array of stories that mothers everywhere use to dissuade their children from asking strangers for rides. My 650 Yamaha was giving me troubles while stationed for work in Tamaranui in the summer of 1978. So, I put my thumb out and was transported on those occasions to my destination by various drivers, ranging from the best of humanity, to the down-right bad.
One day I was standing beside a road somewhere south of the King Country, when a Jaguar xj6, with British plates, pulled up right there in the middle of the road. The driver reached over, swung the huge door open and was looking at me. I sheepishly asked, “Are you offering me a lift?” He glared at me as if I had something wrong with me, and said curtly, “What do you think I stopped for?” He was indeed a no-nonsense man. But a man willing to share his car, and a little of his life story with me. Suffice it to say that he was a wealthy English real estate agent. He always sent his car ahead of himself by ship to the countries he was visiting. “I quit my job and started my real estate business in my front room,” he stated matter-of-factly. Personally, I hadn’t been in the workforce for even a year, so having this man assure me that he, a once ‘ordinary worker,’ could start over with absolutely nothing but a dining room table, a pen, a newspaper and a telephone, was beyond my comprehension. He did not lack faith in himself, that’s for sure. This man’s simple success story incorporated the stuff that is admired and envied by millions. It’s all about a man who takes an idea, adds risk, ambition, drive, perseverance and luck, and becomes a self-made millionaire.
But his story, when juxtaposed against Jesus’ call to follow him, usually sets our minds to a frantic task. That of trying to synchronize ‘faith-in-self’ with Jesus’ call to ‘faith-in-him.’ Jesus called some businessmen working beside Lake Galilee to abandon their boats, saying, “Come, and I will make you fishers of men.” If Matthew the Tax-collector was like the stereotypical self-employed revenue men of his day, he left a lot of under-the-table cash behind to answer Jesus call for him to, ‘follow.’ Simon the sorcerer learned the hard way that being an extremely talented, popular, rich, new Christian, promised no soft landing when receiving the sharp condemnation from Peter’s tongue. He had tried to buy the ability to impart the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit to others. It was as if it this miraculous gift-giving ability could become his new Christian magic act (Acts 8). Jesus will not be bought or bargained for. It’s ‘follow me’ on his terms or go about the devil’s business. Money and possessions have do have their place—on his terms! We are called to store up riches in heaven, and, believe it, or not, the only true riches are actually the saved souls of men.
The spiritually shrewd manager invests his wages, (from a fair day’s work, comes a fair day’s pay), into his service for Christ—In order that souls make it to heaven. You will reap what you sow. But don’t miss it. It’s not about money! To discuss the virtues of having little or much is a waste of time if we are not heeding Jesus’ simple call, “Come and follow me.” At the age of 12 Jesus made it very clear to all listening: And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). So, must we…!