From the Bigg Chicken to the Big Apple
Kevin had been acting pretty strangely all night, but even so I was surprised when I saw him hand over his Bigg Chicken uniform to Mr. Bigg.
I wondered what in the world he was doing and I shot him a glance as he shook Mr. Bigg's hand. He knew I'd be waiting with questions in the parking lot.
"Dude, why did you quit? Did you win the lottery, or what?" I asked.
He had the grace to look sheepish. "Not exactly."
"Mark, I was going to tell you. I just didn't know how." He shuffled his feet and shoved his hands into his pockets.
I was really concerned. Working at The Bigg Chicken might not be a ticket to Trump Tower, but the hours were flexible and it was within walking distance of campus. So, for Kevin to quit, he must be in big trouble. I waited for him to continue.
"Look, Mark. I'm fine. It's just that... I'm going to New York."
I couldn't believe my ears. "New York? As in New York City? Are you transferring there mid-semester?"
"Nope." He took a breath. "I’m quitting school. My uncle Marty is getting me a job at the place where he works."
This was some serious stuff. "Isn't he the guy who works for an - insurance company?"
Again, he looked sheepish. "Yeah, I know: insurance. But it's a real job, with benefits and I don’t need a degree to get it. And it's New York, man! I can get music connections there like crazy!”
"What about our band, Kevin? You know: the Cross Purposes? What about
me, Laney, and Hannah?" I thought of something else. "What about you and Laney? I thought you guys were getting engaged."
He shook his head again. "Not any more. She thinks I've lost it, too. Listen, Mark. We play at a church coffee house. To the same 20 kids who've been saved since they were 2 years old. Our band isn't singing about anything they haven't heard a million times. I'm not going anywhere with my music or my life."
I didn't agree. "Kevin, that's really not true. We don’t just play. We lead the worship. Lots of the regulars have said that our music blesses them. And what about that guy
that came in last month? You know: the guy you prayed with, who gave his heart to the Lord?"
"What about him?" he countered. "That was awesome, man. I'm glad I was there. But that was one guy, in six months. Every week we get nothing but the regulars. And how many times do you wanna hear Crazy Jake shouting for us to play ‘Jesus Freak’?"
"Look, Kevin. Forget Crazy Jake. This town may not be New York, but it's a start. And that one guy who got saved counted, to the Lord. Kevin, you don't belong at an insurance company. New York may have lots of connections, but who's to say if you’ll make any of them?"
"Are you trying to tell me I have no talent?" He was angry, now.
"You know better than that, dude. But even talented people don't always make it, in New York. Have you prayed about this?"
"Ummm, sure," he mumbled, but he was avoiding my eyes. "Look. This is my shot. I gotta take a chance. I'm not going anywhere if I stay here."
"But what if here is where the Lord wants you? You know what you've got here: friends, a job, and school. What if the next guy who comes in is the next one you're supposed to witness to? What then? Why risk giving up what's here, when you don't even know what you're going to?"
For a moment, he had no answers and I thought I had convinced him. "No, Mark. I've made up my mind. I'm going to New York, and I'll find those connections. I’ll figure out how the Lord can use me there. I don't have to know how. I just know that sitting around waiting isn't getting me anywhere. Goodbye, buddy. I'll keep in touch. You and the others will be OK without me."
What could I do? I watched him go. But not before I said a prayer for him and his safety. I sighed, and dialed Hannah. I knew Laney would be needing some friends, tonight.
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