It was the morning of my first day on a new job, and before I got out the door, my wife had a point she wanted to make. “Don’t get lost thinking that the work and paycheck are why God gave you the job,” she said. “Think bigger. You’re there to touch other people.”
I absolutely do not like trying to evangelize, but I had to admit, she was probably right. She always says wise things like that.
The first week I was to spend alongside Brian, the guy who I was replacing. His job was to get me up to speed. Nice guy that he was, we got along well and chatted freely, even doing lunches together. Remembering what my wife had encouraged me to keep in mind, I nervously inserted in our conversation a little about my belief in Jesus. Instead of being put off, he actually seemed welcoming to the topic.
On Thursday, I asked him what he would be doing after leaving the company. “I’m heading out Saturday for a surf trip down under for about four months.”
“Wow! Cool,” I said, envious. “Are you ready to go?”
“Yup, my duffle bag is packed to the gills,” he offered. “I only have about this much space left.”
He held his fingers apart by a little. It gave me an idea.
I called my wife and asked her if she wouldn’t mind picking up a really tiny Bible. She said she would.
On his final day, as he came into work, the small Bible that my wife had purchased was on his desk with a bow.
“What’s this?” Brian said.
“For your trip,” I replied with a little dude-ish attitude so as to downplay the bow my wife had tied.
“Oh. Thanks, man,” he said with a smile.
Months later, I received a note from Brian. “I’m lying in the back of a van in New Zealand in a downpour reading the Bible by flashlight that you gave me," he wrote. “I like your boy, Matthew (the apostle and writer of the Gospel, Matthew). He has interesting things to say.”
I never did hear from Brian again. But the thought of him does come with a bit of a smile for me. All I did was dare to open my mouth once about faith and that one action led to a meeting of the minds between Brian and Matthew that may well have eternal consequences. Perhaps it was just a seed that will be watered by someone else someday, someway. Either way, it was thrilling to think that along some rain-soaked beach on the other side of the world, God was making something of my tiny effort.
My wife was right. There was a bigger reason for taking the job.