Jean and I first met Bob when he served us at one of our favorite restaurants. We noted he was a good waiter but that his speech and actions were effeminate and possibly indicated he lived a sinful and dangerous lifestyle.
In spite of our feelings about such a lifestyle we felt drawn to him and wanted to show him Christ-like love—not rejection.
Over several months a friendship developed. When we planned to go to his restaurant Jean would just call in. When Bob answered Jean would just say, “Hi, Bob, this is Jean.” He’d reply, “I’ll have your order on the table when you arrive.” He knew exactly what we’d order.
Jean and I began calling him “our project.” We wanted to lead him to Christ.
We made sure that every conversation would include a gentle witness for Christ and our assurance that we were praying for him. We’d invite him to check out Healing Place Church. Soon we could tell he was more than willing to talk about our faith, Healing Place Church and our work amongst the AIDS orphans of Africa.
Bob would weep with great empathy as we spoke about the thousands of children whose lives were ravaged by AIDS. Once he even gave us $20 to help a child.
Bob changed jobs and we lost track of him for many months. About six months ago we ran into him at another restaurant. He seemed overjoyed to see us—and to tell us that he had started attending the St. Amant campus of Healing Place Church. The pastor is a former Marine with a bold demeanor—not the type of personality Bob was normally comfortable being around.
We saw Bob two or three times over the next few weeks. Each time he was more and more excited about the church. He was different. It was obvious his life had been changed. As we look back now we realize that although he didn’t use “spiritual-ese” vocabulary he was telling he now served Jesus.
“Things are OK now,” he said. (These are the same words my oldest brother used to tell me just before died that his heart was right with God.) And the anxious intensity Bob used to show was gone. His demeanor was calm and settled.
Last night we went back to the restaurant. We hadn’t been there for a little over a month. When we asked if Bob was there the waitress said, “Bob died about a month ago.”
Our first reaction was great sadness. It was a bit like losing a relative.
As we drove home the sadness was softened by the awareness that God had allowed us to influence Bob to seek Jesus and that Bob was, right at that moment, with his Lord Jesus Christ.
If the Holy Spirit had not urged us to step over the threshold of our rejection of his lifestyle, if we had merely tolerated his service and not spoken to him about Jesus, would he have found his way to the cross?
Our “Bob project” was wonderfully successful.
And right now we have some more “projects” we are working on.
Will you let the Holy Spirit show you some “projects?”