THIS IS MY story.
I started up my first business at the age of 34. Before that, I was in sales but became very tired of the travel. I sold my corporate stock, bought a franchise and began a 13-year run in small business. It was hard work, long hours and, at first, quite the dip in salary with few benefits. It fit my personality. I was home sleeping in the same bed every night, I controlled my own schedule and was rewarded or punished for my own efforts. The buck stopped with me.
At the same time, I was becoming active in my church. It was a friendly church with a solid Christian message. However, my best friends were those outside of the church.
The men at church didn’t understand my stress and never took an interest in my work. Instead, three of my business associates and I went out to lunch once a month, and they became my good friends. These guys did not have the same faith as me. In fact, they lived lifestyles that were far from Christian. They lived for making the most money that they could, anyway they could without getting caught. Their lives weren’t based on Biblical principles, but on what was best for them. But what I liked about them was they were real.
We trusted each other, and we were open and honest about our businesses and lifestyles. There was a difference in our M.O., but not our loyalty and trust for each other.
Soon after, I went to a seminar that challenged me to share my faith through a personal experience. I’m not a natural evangelist, so I wrote out a couple of paragraphs about how the Lord helped me to heal the relationship with my dad. I was the third boy in our family, and he must have just gotten tired of being a dad. It wasn’t openly contentious, but it was a wound in my heart that still needed to be healed. So I asked God to heal that wound, and I put it on paper so as not to stumble over my words in case the opportunity came up.
Only a couple of days later I was having lunch with my business buddies and the subject of dads came up in our discussion. It was crazy! With years of lunches, never did that subject ever come up. My mind was racing. I knew what to say, because I had written it down only a few days before, but these were my friends. What would they think? But if I was true to my faith, I needed to say something, so I went ahead and shared it. They didn’t laugh. They listened. I was their friend. They had broken relationships with their dads and did nothing. Mine was broken, but it was being healed only by the grace of Christ.
That experience was a breakthrough for me not to be ashamed of the Gospel. Why should I not share it? It was real.
Years ago, I sold my businesses and last year I moved out of state. I loved those guys, and when I think of them, I pray for them. My life was an example to them, and occasionally, like the above story, the truth would come out verbally. I was challenged to write down my story of faith. I did and am eagerly waiting on the Lord to give me the opportunity to share it again. It’s real! No need to hide.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Originally published January 25, 2019 on firstchristian.com. © 2019 First Christian Church.