By Steve Becker
Bob calls himself an Uber Missionary. As long as I’ve known him, he has been a professional photographer. In July 2015, in addition to this long-standing career, he added a new “vineyard” to labor in. He became an Uber driver.
“How I was to serve the Father in this new field had already been impressed on me a year previously,” Bob recalled.
While paying for breakfast, he was standing beside a very overweight man who was buying an assortment of extremely large, but delicious looking caramel rolls.
Bob had thought to himself, “Those rolls can’t be good for him.” Suddenly, he heard a voice in his head saying, “Don’t judge that man!”
Turning to the man, Bob then said, “Those rolls sure look good.” The man responded, “You know, I can’t have these rolls, but every time I come here, I get them for my neighbors.”
All Walks of Life
Bob said, “Since that time it has been ingrained in me not to judge people. Now, as an Uber driver, I especially keep this in mind as I pick up passengers from all walks of life, race, and creed. I pick up the poor, the rich and the downtrodden, young people going to drug treatment, laborers, and professionals. My prayer is that, by God’s grace, I would not pass judgment on any of them.”
“I know he loves each of us and calls me to love as he loves. For me, this is a blessing and an honor to be Christ to all these people.”
Since July 2015, Bob has given in excess of 6,800 rides to thousands of people. Here’s a sampling:
- A university student who wanted to be baptized but said she had too many sins.
- A prostitute from California who said she needed to grow up first before changing her ways.
- A young man who had gone to a Christian school but when he came out as gay said family and friends rejected him.
- A bouncer from a downtown strip club.
- A woman who said she was a stripper.
- A 21-year-old meth addict who was going back into treatment because she had used the night before.
- A woman who said it had been a “night of shame” and felt convicted of her wrongdoing.
“The people the Lord puts in my car have real problems and need Jesus. I pray, ‘Give me your words, Lord, that they might find you.’ Hopefully, the words that come from my heart and mind in these short rides are seeds planted by him.”
Breathe Deep (the breath of God)
When I asked Bob if I could share his story, Bob forwarded me a video another friend had sent him. This video illustrates a song that brings Bob’s experience to life better than mere words. Called “Breathe Deep (the breath of God)” it lists dramatically all who need the breath of God. Every one of us will find our “name” listed. Bob is the “breath of God’ for these people who ride with him.
“I keep three things in mind for my riders. First, show interest in them by asking questions and being a good listener. Second, let them see my joy by sharing something about me for which I’m grateful and gives me happiness. And finally, honor and encourage them wherever I see goodness in what they share with me. I’m amazed how their hearts become open to God.”
“By not judging them and, as Christ, loving them all, we are the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Why Are You So Nice?
One early morning as dawn was breaking, Bob picked up a man who had just finished a night on the town. The first thing the rider told Bob was that he had nothing extra for a tip. Bob replied, “Not a problem.”
After a little more conversation, the man asked, “Why are you so nice?” Bob just laughed. The man asked again, “What’s the difference between you and me? I’m not really a very nice guy. In fact, I’m a mean guy. What’s the difference between you and me?”
Bob recalled, “It was a really short ride and I’d never been put on the spot like that. By this time, I had already pulled up to his apartment.”
The man said bluntly to Bob, “I’m not getting out of this car until you tell me the difference between you and me.”
Bob thought, “Okay buddy, you asked for it. Here is the difference between you and me!”
Bob told him his story, with details leading up to and ending with his surrendering his life to Jesus Christ in 1973. He finished with his favorite close, “And that my friend has made all the difference!”
“There was no response nor any indication he was at all impressed by what I had shared,” Bob remembered. “I often don’t know what impact I have. However, he did demonstrate for me the real hunger and desperation in our society for truth, beauty, and goodness.”
Like Bob, may we all be the breath of God to any and all we meet, and may they all breathe deep. If you haven’t viewed the video already, it would be a good way to end.