“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
Jerry was a co-worker of mine at the French Lick Casino. He had one of those jobs no one else really ever lines up to do. He was an attendant in our employee dining room. Even though our food was free to all employees at the time, I’m sure half of what Jerry heard was complaints about the quality and selection of food and requests and demands to replenish this or that. To add to that, he usually worked a late swing shift or graveyard shift.
I usually tried to make Jerry’s life easier by doing as much of my own attending as possible in our EDR. I’m sure I didn’t always do the right thing but I sympathize with all of our EDR staff and I usually try to pass on some kind of compliment. Our attendants, by and large, do a lot more real work than me and they deserve pats on the back. Compliments are highly combustible and I try to disperse them often and Jerry always appreciated anyone’s attempts to notice his efforts. As a result, Jerry would sit with me a lot of times during my 30-minute meal break and chat with on a variety of things.
I have no idea of Jerry’s spirituality and that’s my fault. I should have been more pro-active in finding out before his employment ended. I hid behind potential human resources issues involving religion in the workplace. However, one particular night Jerry broke the ice. After I sat down with my food, he plopped into the chair across the table from me. He got right down to the heart of his matter. (It is amazing how people unfamiliar with or curious about our faith have no problem asking us about God but we often avoid the subject at nearly all costs.) Jerry said to me, “Rob, I see God in you…” and I pretty much had no idea what he said for the 10 seconds or so. I was in shock. I was astounded. I was amazed. I was completely honored he “saw” that.
Jerry telling me that was the next best thing to hearing my daughters tell me for the first time that they loved me. As I wiped away the tears from my eyes I came to find out that he wanted to ask some Bible questions (it just kept getting better). In addition to his questions that night, Jerry periodically asked me more questions about the Bible and I got great opportunities to witness to someone who stood right in front of me just about every day.
It’s amazing where God opens doors, even in the back of the house of a casino!
He opens them even when we don’t realize there was even a doorway in front of us. Jerry completely floored me that particular night and I was on top of the world after the opportunity to share my God with him. Sharing God is the ultimate high. Jerry also made me realize that God always places us in venues to reach lost souls. I can only hope that my conversations with Jerry had a positive impact on his spiritual life. I may never know but I sometimes wonder if I did all I could to witness to him. I always offered to talk to him at any time about spiritual matters so I hope the seed I planted has produced fruit wherever he is now. I have faith God watered the seed.
Jason, a good friend and accountability partner of mine, in our weekly small group studies (which we refer to as our connections group) uses the catchy phrase “populate Heaven.” I latched on to it and have tried to live my life as Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 in hopes of inspiring people like Jerry to do the same. I’ve thought this has served me, and in turn God, well most of the past five years or so but it’s only half of our Christian calling. I don’t write these testimonials to make me appear righteous because I’m still far from that.
I write these to point out that even though Jerry really inflated my ego and it was one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received, hoping others see God in me is now no longer enough for me in my Christian walk. I don’t want to take a chance that the only way I’m going to lead others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ is by hoping that the people in my life see what God is doing in me. Unfortunately, I’m not always like a Motel 6. I don’t always leave my light on and, in fact, my light is way too, way too often. I worry that the beacon I’m shining into the darkness too often might be a lighthouse to the wrong side of eternity.
I’m afraid I’ve stood by too many times while other people have went to hell.