My Friend George
Every once in a while, and I mean not very often, you meet someone who touches your heart; even if only a little. And that was the way it was with George, when we met more than 6-1/2 years ago, at a coffee shop in the Border’s at Keystone Crossing. George was in the middle of thinking about a career transition, and had heard of my work in the field. During our brief meeting, he seemed a little angry, touted the person he was already working with and seemed to question everything about my methods in assisting folks doing career searches; all the while complaining about my high fees. Of course, I was a little apprehensive, because people who come across like this can be defensive, and difficult to work with, and I sensed that George could possess some of the traits that I was leery of.
We both left that day deciding that each of us would continue on our individual paths and I never thought I would hear from George again. However, several months later, while I was in Oklahoma on a ministry trip with my friend Roger, George called – to read me a letter of introduction for a job he was interested in. I made several edits, neither of us exchanging the normal pleasantries, and hung up the phone. Much to my surprise, I heard from George again several months later. He was still unsure of what path he wanted to follow – but I didn’t want to pursue the relationship and it was my choice to not work with him at that time. And once again, two more months down the road, George called me yet again! This time, he seemed a little softer, and he invited me to coffee at the local Panera’s. It seemed like his heart had changed and I accepted his offer.
The morning we met, George told me that he had a proposition for me – he asked me to work with him for three weeks, and if he was not completely compliant during that time, he would never call me again. I told him that I would pray about it. I was concerned, primarily because I don’t do non-compliant very well, and I was still suspicious of George’s sincerity. But something about George told me that I should consider his offer. I just couldn’t believe how much his heart had seemed to change.
I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. As I was about to leave, George grabbed my sleeve and asked me to pray for him – on the spot. So, there in the middle of Panera, not only did I pray for George, but I accepted him as a client, for a three week trial. That was more than 6-1/2 years ago, and we have been together ever since.
And my life has been made richer through knowing George. Sure, from time to time, we get into it, and tough words get spoken – but now, they are said with love. And we each know the blemishes of the other, as well as the strengths that each of us brings to the table. We have met each other’s families, and he has watched my company grow exponentially, as I have seen his career accelerate just as quickly. George is quite a guy, and I am honored to call him my friend.
But what brought us together in the first place? Of course, by now, you know the answer to that one – a Bible verse. In fact, the foundational Bible verse of my career transition ministry work, and that can be found in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” And that is what George needed when I met him that morning for coffee – someone to help him with all the burdens in his life. For some unknown reason, God chose me to be the one to listen. And the law of Christ, from John 15, is to “Love one another as I have loved you.” And to be sure, George was not an easy one to love, any more than I was. So we were a perfect pair, thrown together by God; highly unlikely people to ever even talk to one another, let alone work together.
But God commands us to help one another, and that’s what I tried to do. George and I have continued to walk together for a long time now. And we are both better for the relationship we have. No competition, no jealousy, no anger; just loyal friendship.
So my encouragement tonight is to bear the burden of some unlikely person – someone in need. Because they need help, and God has sent you to assist. And you should know by now that God’s will is always accomplished – either through your obedience, or absent that, through someone else’s. I pray that you will not want to miss that blessing – I know that I didn’t.
So today, as you read this, how about sending up a praise for what God has done in George’s life. Oh, and one more thing – George is celebrating his 6th anniversary on the job he accepted after we began working together that morning after coffee and prayer. And he is still hitting it out of the park!
Happy Anniversary, George. Keep playing to win!