“I’m going to lunch,” my co-worker called as she headed out the door.
“Wait! Don’t leave me!” I screamed silently to myself while I smiled and said “OK”.
You see, I was trapped. Just minutes before my co-worker left for lunch, a client walked into my office to deliver a document. His visits are never short. He likes to talk. And there I was with a deadline to meet, no one else in the office, the phones ringing off the hook and a crazy man standing in my office telling me his life story.
I didn’t know what to do. I was trying to be nice and listen to the guy but all I could think about was getting him out of my office. What could possibly have been going through my co-worker’s mind when she decided to leave me in the office all alone with this strange man? Seriously. What if he tried to attack me or something? It’s not like I could get away. He was standing in the doorway and all of the windows are covered with bars. I was stuck – listening.
So, I listened for fifty long minutes. I listened to his current problems (that’s why he was in a lawyer’s office). I listened to his past problems. I listened to his list of accomplishments – some I’m sure were real and some I’m pretty confident were an exaggeration. I heard tales of his teen years, his young adult life, of lost love, of a broken family, his job situation and his medical history. I heard it all. And I smiled and nodded at all the right moments while secretly hoping each story would be his last.
It was about the twenty-five minute mark, however, when I realized why I was stuck all alone with this man. In the course of his tale-telling, he recounted several occasions when he found himself facing death and miraculously escaping. As he claimed the grace of God as the reason for being alive today, I could feel my heart in my throat.
“Ah!” I thought, “That’s why I’m here. That’s why he’s standing there. I need to ask this man if he knows Jesus.”
I had to butt into his dialogue but I finally was able to ask him if he attended church anywhere.
“I’m a member of three churches,” he stated and then continued by sharing his opinion of pastors and of other believers.
I had lost control of the conversation once more, so I tried again.
“Have you ever given your life to Jesus?” I interjected.
“Everyday,” was his reply.
It was a good answer from a man who knew how to talk a good talk but I knew in my heart that this man needed a relationship with the Savior. His stories and the details of his life were the gleaming evidence of that fact.
Our conversation was cut short, though, when someone finally arrived back at the office. But before our time together ended, a time I now wish had been extended, I did my best to offer this man hope.
“As many times as you have walked away from death, “I encouraged, “Surely, God must have something very special planned for your life.”
To that, he thoughtfully responded, “But when is it going to happen?”
We are surrounded by people who need to know Jesus. They come in and out of our lives on a daily basis but we often miss the opportunity to share the Gospel because we’re preoccupied. We have our own agendas and our own lives to live. We simply don’t have the time. Or is it that we don’t want to take the time?
What if, today, we made up our minds to share Jesus with everyone we meet? What if we acknowledged everyone that crossed our paths and told them all how much God loves them? What if we told these people that the something special they are seeking could happen right now, this very moment? What an impact we could make in our world! Oh, but wait. That’s right. We have deadlines. We have our own worries. We have our reservations and presumptions. We don’t have the time to sit down, to talk or to listen.
The man who was standing in the doorway of my office, talking my ear off and preventing me from finishing my work needs Jesus. He has a longing for something special in his life. I wasted twenty-five minutes resenting my co-worker and wishing this man would stop talking so I could get on with my day. And even though I was able to get in a few pointed questions, I can only imagine what God could have done with those extra twenty-five minutes!
So, what do you do when you’re stuck in an office with a crazy man who loves to talk? You listen and when he takes a breath, jump in and share the Love of Jesus.