Sam hurried to catch up with his pastor after the men’s prayer breakfast. “Pastor Don, could I have a word?”
“Of course,” replied the older man. “What’s on your mind?”
“It’s the guys at work. They give me such a hard time. They know I’m a Christian, and they’re always mocking me.”
Sam paused, trying to explain how he felt. “It’s like they watch everything I do, waiting for me to mess up. I don’t know how much longer I can take it.”
“Well, son,” Pastor Don replied, “you may be right. Darkness doesn’t like being exposed by light. If they can trip you up, they can call you a hypocrite and not feel convicted by your behavior.”
He paused, looking deep into Sam’s wide eyes. “God has put you there for a reason. Those men won’t come to church and listen to me. You may be the only example of a Christian they see. You might not ever see the fruit of it, but someday, when they feel the need for God, they may remember a young man who wasn’t afraid to stand for Him. Let’s pray.”
He put his hands on Sam’s shoulders, and Sam felt the warmth of his pastor’s prayers wash over him. He left feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Sam strode into the office with an optimistic spirit. After dropping his briefcase at his desk, he headed down to the break area. It didn’t take long for his new-found resolve to be tested. A few of his coworkers had been chatting by the coffee machine, but fell silent as he approached. Pete, the worst of the bunch, spoke up.
“Here comes the Christian. Sorry guys, I won’t be able to tell you the rest of my joke. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone.”
A few snickers followed. Sam swallowed hard and forced a smile.
“Good morning Pete, Mike, Steven… Good to see you all.”
The others wandered away, and Sam was left alone.
Later that afternoon, he overheard his colleagues whispering. Rumor had it that the big boss was coming downstairs and he was angry. The report on the internal audit hadn’t been filed in time, and Pete was in for it. Mr. Edwards approached the cubicles. Since Sam had the adjacent cube to Pete, he couldn’t help but overhear.
“Peter Santerson,” boomed Mr. Edwards' powerful voice.
“Yes sir,” came Pete’s quiet reply.
“The internal audit report was not submitted on time this month. That is your responsibility, is it not?”
“Yes, sir,” Pete repeated.
“There had better be a good explanation why it was late, or you can kiss this job goodbye.”
Sam’s heart sank for Pete. He knew he hadn’t finished the report on time yesterday because he had been fielding phone calls about his daughter’s new medical diagnosis. He had a lot on his plate. Following the Holy Spirit’s prompting, Sam stood up and approached Mr. Edwards. Stretching to his full 5’ 7”, he looked up at Mr. Edwards’ imposing figure.
“Sir?” Sam began.
Mr. Edwards looked down his nose at him. “What do you want?”
Sam gathered his courage as Mr. Edwards’ dark eyes bored into his. “It’s my fault the report wasn’t filed on time. I’m pretty new here, and Pete was helping me with the Anderson account.” It was a gamble, but Sam knew the one thing that Mr. Edwards cared about more than the internal audits was the Anderson account. It was stretching the truth a bit, but Pete had showed him where to find the files on the company intranet.
Mr. Edwards’ eyes narrowed at Sam, and then he turned back to Pete. “Don’t let it happen again.”
Both Sam and Pete stared at Mr. Edwards’ retreating form and collectively breathed a sigh of relief. Pete turned to Sam. “You could have gotten in real trouble. Why would you do that for me?”
Sam gave Pete a sympathetic look. “I know what you’re going through with your daughter. I thought you could use a break.” He took a deep breath and plunged forward. “I’m praying for you and your family.”
Pete’s expression momentarily hardened at the mention of praying, but then he seemed to relax. “Thanks. I appreciate that.” He lowered his voice. “Don’t tell anyone, but maybe some time you could teach me how to pray, too.”
Sam grinned. Suddenly being watched all the time didn’t seem so bad after all.
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