January 18, 2019
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I am busy fiddling in my drawer at work when I realize that I am late and should have left the office already. There isn’t really time to read the engineering magazine today, but I quickly scan through the last page. The writer of the article suggests that we should start doing things differently in South Africa. “Make a difference,” he suggests. “We should start doing small deeds for the people around us.” In my thoughts, I kind of agree with him. Two weeks later I am on my way to Virginia. At the Grasmere toll gate I suddenly remember the words, “Make a difference.” I greet the toll booth operator and provide my card to pay. As I wait for my receipt, I spot two vehicles approaching the booth in my rear view mirror. Something prompts me to hand my card to the operator again, “I am paying for the two vehicles behind me as well.” A surprised voice responds, “You know them?” I reply, “No I don’t, but I am paying for them.” As I am driving away, I see that the two cars are standing at the toll both for quite some time. The toll gate disappears out of sight as I drive away… Approximately 120km further, I see a white BMW slowly catching up to me. After some time, I slow down to let it pass, but the vehicle also slows down and so does the red Toyota behind it. Other vehicles gradually pass us, but the two vehicles stay behind me. The white BMW suddenly pulls up next to me and the lady in the car indicates that I should pull over. As I pull over and get out of my car, I notice that the Toyota has also pulled over. I approach the lady to greet her and see that a man gets out of the Toyota and starts walking towards us. I greet the lady, “Good morning, where are you headed? I am a representative and I am on my way to…” She interrupts me, “Did you pay for me at the toll gate?” I reply, “Yes, it was me.” With confusion in her voice she asks, “Why?” and the man, who now caught up with us, repeats her question, “Yes, why?” I can see that the two are completely surprised and I start responding, “Because I want to make a difference…” when I suddenly realise that this appointment between me and these two strangers on the N1 was arranged by God. “Someone else paid for me as well,” I hear myself saying. “Oh…” the woman responds, “did someone pay your toll money as well?” I respond: “No, not here at Grasmere, but someone did pay on my behalf. You received the news from the lady in the toll booth and probably drove through the gate with uncertainty and without paying. That is how we hear the news about Jesus paying for our sins as well. Jesus already paid for all our sins, but we have to accept it first and we have to believe it before we can enter the gates of heaven.” I conclude my message, “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life,” and with this I turn around, walk to my vehicle and take out two Testaments from my boot. In both of the Testaments is one of my business cards, just in case they want to contact me. I present them with the little Testaments and explain the piece I read in the engineering magazine two week earlier. The three of us say our goodbyes and part ways. Later that afternoon, my cell phone rings. I hear a woman’s voice on the other side, “Do you remember this morning’s appointment next to the N1?” She continues before I could answer, “I was upset after we parted ways, but I was also happy. I stopped over in Bloemfontein and bought myself a Bible. I will stay the night so that I can read more about the good news before moving on.” God schedules appointments regularly, it is up to us to accept the invitation in order to make a difference in other people’s lives.

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