Over the past three months, I have been riding the city bus to work. I was fed up with rush hour traffic and paying $50 a month to park a half mile from my workplace. Â The buses in Columbus have Wi-Fi which has been another nice perk in that I can get work done during my one hour commute.
I remember one of my first rides on the bus. Â I sat on a sideways facing seat directly across a man who was staring at me. Â Iâm talking laser-focused, never-taking-his-eyes-off-me-for-a-sec kind of stare. Â About thirty minutes into his staredown, he began talking to himself at which point I drew the line and relocated to a different seat.
Rarely a day goes by where Iâm not made uncomfortable from someoneâs poor hygiene or life choices on the bus. Â Combine that with my introverted leanings and you get why my default upon boarding is to pop on the noise canceling headphones and get lost in my work.
However, I have recently observed a few things about my bus:
1. I board the bus in an upper class suburb of Columbus and am usually the only one on the bus when I get on. Â Even moderately wealthy people donât ride public transportation in Columbus.
2. My bus drives through the poorest parts of Columbus which is also, unsurprisingly, the parts with the worst crime rates. Most of the people who ride my bus are poor. Â Many are under the influence of some substance. Many are unemployed. Â Single moms with 3+ kids in tow… You get the point. Â The I.T. professional on his way to a good job in downtown is not just the minority, I am the singularity.
I have the privilege of leaving my truck at home in the morning, saving both gas and money. I ride my electric scooter to the bus stop. Â From there I get onto the bus and start my I.T. job while I ride into work. The rest of the people on my bus ride because they have no other option.
I have realized how much of a bubble I live in. Â All my friends and family are middle class and above. Â Most, if not all, of them are employed, law-abiding, substance-free, and happily married. I call many of them my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
When my Christian faith reminds me to care about the poor, I often think to myself, âWell, I guess I could send some money to Myanmar.â. I forget that there are poor right here in my city; Iâm now with them two hours a day! If I could only see Godâs heart for these people on the bus.
Yâsee, we lower-middle class and above Christians are a dying breed. Â Christianity continues to spread rapidly across Africa and Asia and most of them are, you guessed it, poor. Â The majority of Christians around the world are not able to provide three meals a day for their families. And one day when God asks what we did with our first world wealth, many of us will stammer.
This realization has awakened me to the plight of my poor neighbors, but I canât seem to stop hitting the snooze button. Itâs far too easy to justify keeping my headphones on and focusing on my work. In an effort to break this default, I have begun to look for opportunities to take my headphones off and talk to people. Â I want to start helping people on the bus, but I am often not sure where to begin.
Does anyone have any ideas on how I can share the love of Christ with my fellow bus riders?