Do you remember “On the Road With Charles Kuralt?” I remember the name of the show more than the actual program. A book in my library by the late Mr. Kuralt has the words “On the Road” in its title. Someday I plan to read the book, either when we get home from being on the road long enough to sit down, book in hand, and jump in, or while we are on the road and Sammie’s driving.
We love to be on the road. Our neighbors that keep an eye on the house while we are gone often ask when and where we are going on our next road trip - in the brief time between trips, when we are home long enough for quick conversations with our neighbors.
Slight exaggeration. But as I write these words, I am at my daughter’s house. On the road in Mt Juliet, Tennessee. On the road again. On this trip, we spent a couple of nights in my hometown, then drove to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for dinner with my cousin and a reunion with others from our college church who answered God’s call to ministry. On the next leg of our journey, we spent a few days with the Playl boys while their parents, our son and daughter-in-law, spent a few hours in the air and a few days in San Diego.
As always, the Lord guided our path, and our path crossed paths with many others - some we have known forever, others we just met for the first time. In Madisonville, we stayed at a B & B owned by Joe and Shirley Thomas, friends from high school. In Bowling Green, we dined with my cousin, Dr. Jerry Martin. We met soon after I was born.
Two days in a row, we ate lunch at Big City Market & Coffee Bar where Jennie, Joe and Shirley’s daughter, introduced us to the best chicken salad croissant ever. The first day, we split. Next day, we ordered two, since neither of us was willing to share. On that second day, we met a very interesting new friend. Dr. John Love is a 91-year-old retired orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Love came to my hometown to practice when I was in high school. I think I had seen him and remembered his name from back in the day, but we had never met, that I can remember. We will always remember meeting him recently, though.
Sammie and I spent over three hours talking with Dr. Love. Actually, he did most of the talking. He called himself “Motor-Mouth,” but he had so much to share. After practicing medicine all those years, Dr. John still spends hours on the internet, every evening, keeping up to date. He is also an accomplished musician - he played for us in his home - and he is quick to share his faith in Christ. When he was 4 years old, he was asked by Clark Gable - yes, THE Clark Gable - if he planned to come to California and pursue a career as an entertainer. After a moment to think about it, young John responded that he was going to be a doctor, and that was the end of the discussion.
Others have asked John Love why he didn’t enter the ministry. The answer is simple: the Great Physician called him to be a physician, not a priest, pastor, or preacher. After spending some time with him, I told him, “Dr. John, the Lord didn’t call you to a career in the ministry, but he did call you to a ministry; and you have answered his call.”
How about you? Have you answered God’s call in your life? What is your vocation? What is your other vocation? The word vocation literally means calling. Perhaps you were called to be a doctor, educator, carpenter, electrician, or auto mechanic, but are you listening to His call to minister to others?
Scripture tells us that, although we make plans for ourselves, God determines our steps. If we acknowledge Him, He will direct our path.
I can’t wait to see whose path crosses ours next.
--Steve Playl, a columnist and college instructor, retired pastor, and chaplain, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.