One man plants, another waters, but only God gives the increase
A few years ago I was made aware of a company in my industry that was potentially for sale. They were in some sort of financial trouble but I wasn’t sure of the details. I had a call with the owner who seemed to be very troubled. The problems seemed to be bigger than the words used to describe them. I was trying to decide if I wanted to explore this opportunity or not when I felt a prompting. I clearly remember feeling like the Lord was speaking to my heart – go.
This was a big deal. I had never acquired a company before and didn’t know where to start. I asked a business coach of mine if he would go with me, and he gladly agreed. Three days later we were in their office.
Stay or Run
We got acquainted and took a look around, and soon after, we headed into the conference room where we were introduced to someone that we very quickly realized was there for a specific reason. Things got serious fast – the owner told us, in front of this witness asked to be there for that reason, that he had been dishonest with his private lenders and was in a real financial bind. When I say dishonest I mean “fraud“. And to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Any reasonable person would have gotten up and walked away. But, I was emotionally involved at this point. I felt for the guy. He seemed genuinely remorseful. And to be honest, I was still curious about the opportunity. Could I make it work? I am pretty good at finding the good in a mess.
We went to dinner together. On the way to dinner the first thing we talked about was the rising temperature of the hot water he was in. His lender was beside himself, and rightly so. But, at the same time he knew that allowing some sort of deal to happen was in his best interest to being repaid. I was starting to get a picture of the opportunity but was still figuring out all the pieces, and many of them were constantly moving.
The Real Need
While driving, the subject of the Golden Gate bridge came up. He said it was the single largest destination in the world for suicides and that they were installing nets to catch (and deter) people from jumping.
I told him a story of how the wife of my pastor had recently committed taken her own life and what a shock it was. He paused for a moment, and shared that he had been seriously considering suicide himself. I knew in that moment that if I were there for no other reason, this moment was worth the trip.
An opportunity to encourage
“That’s not the answer” I said. “You did a bad thing, but it’s not worth your life. Let’s keep talking it out.”
We talked over dinner about many things – some good things like family and culture and movies. We had a fairly good time together. I was mostly concerned about him and his well being at this point.
I began to talk about God and he had questions. I shared the gospel message with him and he had more questions. He never could come to the point of accepting Jesus, but he did seem to really begin to think about things differently. It seems that he was backing off the proverbial ledge.
“You saved my life”
Before we left town he said something to the effect of “If you hadn’t come to see me …. I don’t know what I would have done”. He told me that I saved his life. A few days after I got home he sent me an email with a link to a website where he posted his intent to commit suicide a few days before we met. He was telling me the truth. He really was at that point.
What’s a life worth?
The deal didn’t work out in my favor. In fact, I lost almost $100,000.00 (that is another story for another day), but I perhaps saved him from suicide, and was able to share the gospel with him. Scripture says “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth”. The result is up to the Lord, but by responding to the prompt I had to “go” I allowed myself to be ultimately be used as a messenger of hope. I pray for him as often as I think of him and ask the Lord to draw his heart to him.
Listen for opportunity
You never know who you will impact. It could be something small, or something huge. You might save someone from a small aggravation, or save someone’s life. Or, anything in between. Listen to your heart. If you’re a Christ follower, listen to the Holy Spirit. You just never know.
“Father, I pray that you would call this man to you, that he would respond, and surrender his life into your loving arms. In Jesus Name. Amen.”