Watching

A large bulge on the sidewall of our car tire prompted Sean to visit the local tire shop. As he and Dani walked into the tire shop together, the older brother in the family business called out to them, “Selamun Alejkum,” the Albanian version of “As-salāmu ʿalaykum, an Arabic greeting that means “Peace be upon you.” In many Arabic-speaking countries, it is the common greeting, even among the local Christians. But in this Muslim-majority country, this greeting is seldom used except among the more religious Muslims.

Sean soon learned that the tire would have to be ordered from another town and would be there in the afternoon. When Sean returned, the tire still hadn’t been delivered. The attendant said it should be there by 3 p.m., “inshallah,” which is Arabic for “God willing.”

Once the tire was replaced and Sean had paid for it, he asked for a receipt. The man lowered his voice and asked if he should make out the receipt for double the actual cost. “No, I just need a receipt for the actual cost, please,” Sean replied.

“Are you sure? It’s no problem to make the receipt for more. Nobody will know.” He looked up at Sean expectantly.

Sean answered, “I’m very sure. I would know, you would know, and God would know. Please make the receipt for the actual cost.”

The man straightened up, smiled broadly, put his hand on his chest and said three words in English: “God bless you!” At that moment, Sean couldn’t help but think he had been tested. Some local Christian leaders unfortunately have a reputation for dishonesty.

Who knows who is watching our small daily choices? Who knows the influence those little choices can have for or against the gospel? God knows.

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