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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rescued on Christmas Eve

Rescued on Christmas Eve
You know, it’s very common to run out of gas on an uphill slope, because the gas goes to the back of the tank. I can still remember the hill. Highway 52 curves left and drops quickly into the valley at Upper Des Lacs Lake before climbing up the west side.

We coasted to a stop on the shoulder and I saw a glowing light over the crest of the hill.




Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Life: What's My Spiritual Center?

Rescued on Christmas Eve

By Evan Nehring


Christmas Eve 1990, my younger sister, Heather, and I headed home from college across Minnesota and North Dakota in my little red Renault Alliance. It was a bitterly cold night. We got to Minot in northern North Dakota around 9 pm and we were anxious to get home.

I had better than half a tank of gas and we didn’t need to stop for anything else, so we headed off into the night. It would have been a great night to have a cell phone! That was the night I learned that small towns in North Dakota on Christmas Eve don’t leave their gas stations open past 9 PM. We cruised from town to town and had no luck. Foolishly, we pressed on hoping that the next town would be different.

You know, it’s very common to run out of gas on an uphill slope, because the gas goes to the back of the tank. I can still remember the hill. Highway 52 curves left and drops quickly into the valley at Upper Des Lacs Lake before climbing up the west side.

We coasted to a stop on the shoulder and I saw a glowing light over the crest of the hill. I told Heather to hang tight and I’d go find a place to call for help. By the time I got to the top of the hill, I realized that the light was miles away. It was so cold I thought the sky was going to push me into the ground.

My greatest fear was that I had put my sister’s life in danger. I was shaking like a leaf when I got back to the car.

We remembered seeing a dark building at the bottom of the hill, so we decided to coast in neutral back down the hill and see if we could break in. As we were backing down the hill, a truck finally came along in the night.

Two men and a dog were on their way home from drinks in town. They left the dog in our car and Heather and I climbed into the cab. I remember the sexy girl silhouette mud flaps on the purple truck…and warmth.

Photo Credit: afiler on Flickr Creative Commons
Main Drag, Bowbells, ND


We went to the Bowbells Bar and picked up some keys for the local gas station to fill up a gas can. We were two Canadian kids going to Bible College to save the world. But on that Christmas Eve, we were saved by the gang from the bar.

Who Are My Near Ones?

There’s something humbling about having your life saved by someone you wouldn’t have expected to care. Jesus liked telling stories that turned people’s expectations upside down. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) begins with a law expert asking Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus agrees with the man that he should love God wholeheartedly and love his neighbor as himself.

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29)

Who is my neighbor? This word “neighbor” is an interesting one. The Greek word for neighbor is plasion, which is just another form of the word near. So my neighbor is my “near one.”

And that’s where our English word comes from too, neighbor is from nigh boor. Nigh – means near. “Evening is nigh.” “Lunchtime is nigh.” “Packer season is nigh.” Boor – in the old English meant farmer, then later it meant more of a common person. So, boorish would be something common and we also use neighbor, today, as simply “near one.” 

Jesus was saying, don't just love the ones who are like you. Love the ones who are near you. Here's my core value of outreach:

A lifetime of passionately reaching out to people: smoldering wicks, bruised reeds, the broken, the weak, the lost, the bound, the sick, the storm-tossed.


Comments Are Always Welcome...

Any ideas on how you can reach out to someone near you today?
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