Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: STAND UP FOR JESUS (don't write about the song) (04/09/15)
TITLE: Coming Out Day
By Jenni Starkman
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Dave, our boss, was a retired military man, and he rode the salesmen like a platoon sergeant. He’d take them into his office for ‘pep talks’ if their sales numbers were down; the walls would shake from his booming voice yelling and cussing them out. Afterward, the poor salesmen would scramble back to their desks and work the phones fervently.
My job was salaried so I was spared. I did my job efficiently; I was friendly, but aloof. I was a quiet observer and went unnoticed. The boss left me alone. The guys worked strictly on a commission basis and made cold calls. It was brutal work with lots of rejection. I pitied them.
Two of the salesmen were Christians. The first one I’ll call John because he reminded me of John the Baptist. Like a voice in the wilderness, he would spontaneously quote scripture to people as they walked by him; sometimes he would mutter it to himself, if he needed encouragement, I suppose. Of course most people thought he was weird. I heard people ridicule him all the time for it.
The other one I’ll call Paul. He wanted to evangelize the world and used every opportunity to do so.
Our boss was a big bear of a man. And moody. When he walked in the door each day, you didn’t know if he was going to be a teddy bear or a grizzly bear. Today he was on the prowl and he looked like a grumpy black bear with a sore, bee-stung nose. He plopped down in the chair across from my desk and started ranting about the “two religious fanatics” in the office and their “Jesus stuff.”
He who denies me before man… a little voice whispered to me.
My moment of truth had arrived. “Well, I can’t complain, I’m a Christian, too,” I admitted.
He looked at me a bit surprised. “Oh yeah?” he growled, “but you’re not like them. You’re not one of those crazy ones.” He jerked his head in the direction of John and Paul’s empty desks. The salesmen had all gone to lunch.
My face started burning. “What’s so crazy about them?” I prodded.
“Humph. Just look at John. The way he’s always quoting the Bible. I bet if I asked him to show me where in the Bible those verses are, he couldn’t do it. He never says where they are, did you notice that? I bet he doesn’t even know. Probably doesn’t even quote ‘em right.” He leaned back in the chair, crossed his arms, and smirked.
“It doesn’t really matter if John can’t remember the exact reference; what’s important is that he knows what the Bible says. I’m the same way; I forget the references sometimes but I remember the verse, or I just paraphrase it, too.”
Dave leaned forward and snuffed. “But you’re not one of those born-again Christians going around sayin’ Jesus is the only way to Heaven, are you?” He made little finger quotes in the air when he said born-again Christians. “That’s the difference. There are different kinds of Christians.”
“Actually, I was born again at twenty-nine. And there’s only one kind of true Christian, Dave. Jesus said ‘Unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ That’s John 3:3, one reference I do remember.”
Dave just stared at me in silence for several seconds. Now his face was red. “I had no idea.” His voice was apologetic. He knew he said some things I may have been insulted by.
“I’m ashamed that I had to tell you that I’m a Christian, Dave. Don’t get me wrong--I’m not ashamed that I am a Christian, but if I had been living for Christ, you would have been able to figure that out yourself by my actions and testimony, just like you did with John and Paul.”
Dave was at a loss for words. He just got up and walked away. He never brought up the subject again. He retired about six months later. But I did learn a valuable lesson that day--I stopped being a closet Christian.
(True Story, Names Changed)
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