Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lost and found

Last week I had to go to Schiphol Airport to pick up a lady from Finland. She just came from Beijing and wanted to travel on to Helsinki via Amsterdam. She had asked my brother Bob (who lives in Finland) whether he knew a place to stay, because there was no good direct connection of flights and the lady, her name is Lea, needed to stay in the Netherlands for one night and a day. To cut a long story short, Lea stayed with us from Thursday to Friday and it was great to meet her and to hear about what the Lord is doing in China.

At the parking lot of the airport I found a wallet with somebody’s driver’s license, bank and credit cards, insurance papers, a car key – you name it, it was all in this wallet on the floor of the parking place. I had already paid the money for my own parking fee, and didn’t want to go back to the airport to find a police station, so I decided to take this wallet with me and bring it to the local police headquarters in Hoofddorp, the place where we live.

When I wanted to drive out of the parking building, I couldn’t find my ticket. I looked in my own wallet, searched my pockets and looked in the car, but just couldn’t find it. Silently I asked God, ‘please let me find this ticket, because I don’t want to go through all this trouble and spent extra money because of this stupidity’. I thought God answered my prayer immediately, because at that moment I found a parking ticket in my wallet. I drove to the exit and inserted the ticket in the machine. The ticket came back straight away with the message on the screen 'Ticket not valid'. I had another look at the ticket and it turned out that it was not from the airport but from the parking of a hotel that I'd visited last week. This was not the ticket that I needed to exit the building. Now I panicked. ‘Lord, I really need the right ticket, could you please help me to find it?’ I stepped out of the car, opened the door and looked on the back seats where I had placed Lea’s rucksack and suitcase. And there it was, on the floor of my car, the small ticket that I needed to leave this place.

In the car I explained Lea that I am usually a well-organized guy and that I was sorry for the delay. She laughed and said that I was an E-type of personality, chaotic, but kind. I still have to look this up – don’t know a thing about these personality types. Lea also told me that it was better to try to contact the owner of the wallet by telephone from my own house. “The police will probably put it on a stack somewhere and make a phone call later. If you want to help this man directly, it's better to make a phonecall yourself.” I knew she had a point and thought, I can always bring the wallet to the police later – if I can’t find the owner myself.

First thing I did at home, was trying to find the owner of the wallet via the internet. It was very simple. I just typed his name in the phone directory pages and made a phone call. The man on the other side of the line was very relieved. Just like me, he had picked somebody up at the airport and only an hour ago – when he was back at home – he suddenly realized that he’d lost his wallet. He was hoping that somebody would find it and give him a call. I gave him my address and telephone number and later that night the man’s daughter came to our place with a box of Belgian chocolates and a 20 euro banknote. I gratefully accepted the chocolates (we all love chocolates in my family) and asked the lady if it was okay to give the money to Lea for her mission work in China. She said this was fine with her and so now everybody was happy.

Now why do I tell you this story? To tell you what a good guy I am? I’m not a good guy, I just love chocolates and it is always nice to make people happy, so I already have my reward. I share this true story with you because the Lord taught me some lessons this week.

I panicked because of a silly parking ticket that could have cost me a maximum amount of € 25 if I wasn’t able to find it back. I can afford to lose this money - I don’t like to lose it, but life will go on just the same. The man who lost his wallet gladly paid about the same amount of money for a box of chocolates and a € 20 reward. It was very important for him to have his wallet with his spare car key, his bank and credit cards and all his official documents back in his posession.

This week God clearly told me to go and find his lost children. He wants to have them back no matter the costs. My ticket has been paid for allready and the reward will be so sweet! (Ezekiel 34)


Vicki said...

What a great story, Paul! You called on the Lord in your small moment of need and He answered. You put on the face of God when doing His work in responding to the needs of others. Imagine all the ways God used you that day...and I'm sure there are ways that you can't begin to imagine!

Panda said...

Thanks, Vicki. I did google for e-type personalities and I have to admit that the description seems to be a perfect fit...
Look here:

Marc said...

Great story, thanks for sharing, Paul.

Art said...

Nice post, Paul! Thanks.

Conny Vos said...

Mooi hoe je uit zo'n gebeurtenis een geestelijke les trekt en met ons wil delen. Leerzaam.
Ik ken wel de persoonlijkheids- types van Meyers-Briggs, waarin ik mezelf precies herkende.