I was driving this morning and saw a guy walking on the side of the road. He was wearing a “baja” and carrying a basketball. He looked like some kind of “hippy.”.

I stopped to offer him a ride. His name was Richard. He didn’t have much to say. He seemed untrusting. I understand, I kind of felt the same way. He didn’t ask me for anything. I asked him to tell me a little about himself. He said he was from New Orleans, he had been displaced after the hurricane.  He has traveled around over the past few years. He was headed to visit his mother in Knoxville.

I asked him what he “does” he explained that he had worked in a few factories. It was clear he didn’t really care to talk about work. It was also clear that he didn’t define who he is by what kind of work he “does.”

I told him I picked him up because I love people. I explained that I love people because Jesus loves people too. 

As I let him out of the car I thought about something. 

He defined himself as a “wanderer” (not his word, mine). 

Most of us define ourselves by what we do, and what we have.

I told Richard, “Most people define themselves by what they own or the work they do, you didn’t do that. If you did that, you would have told me you are an NBA basketball player.” He laughed.

 I think he may be clearer about who he is than most of us are. He may be just as wrong as any of the rest of us on a number of things. But he had the wandering thing right.

We are all wandering…until we hear the shepherd, shepherding us home.

I got a glimpse of Jesus in Richard. I hope Richard got a glimpse of Jesus through me.