While the power was out for the last several days, I found myself spending time at a lot of local stores. No, I wasn’t there to buy stuff. I was there to keep warm! Look, when it’s cold out and you don’t have any heat – you’ll do what you have to do to stay warm. For me, that included going to the local Barnes & Noble and reading books (which is something that I do anyway), walking around the local Walmart, and spending time walking around Wegmans (okay I admit it – I bought some stuff for my car while I was at Wegmans).
That’s the base of information that you need to know for this entry. I’ll add this one, crucial piece of information: given that there is near total devastation in many of New Jersey’s shore communities due to the recent super storm and blizzard, there are a lot of out-of-state people up here helping out at a variety of different companies. For example, I’ve seen utility workers from down south (who are running circles around the New Jersey teams, by the way). I’ve also seen insurance adjusters from out-of-state helping homeowners with their claims.
It’s a group effort to recover here in New Jersey.
With that information out of the way, the title of this entry suggests that there are evangelizers among us – even in Monmouth County! Here’s a story that I sent to some of my friends after spending some time warming up and reading a book at the local Barnes & Noble three nights ago. I think you’ll enjoy this:
I’ve been sitting at Barnes & Noble for about 30 minutes and this insurance adjuster – I can tell he’s not from around here by his accent – was sitting across from me the entire time doing some work. I paid no mind to him – I was just flipping between my cell phone and my NOOK.
Anyway, the guy just gathered his things and got ready to leave. When he was ready to go he came over to me and said, “Sir?” I looked up and said, “Yes.”
He said, “Can I tell you something?” I said, “Yeah.”
He said, “Do you know Jesus Christ?” I said, “Yes.”
He said, “Well, his real name is Jehovah. It’s Yahweh. And he’s coming back soon and I just wanted to tell you that he loves you. Just wanted to tell you that he’s coming back and that he loves you.”
I said, “Thank you.”
And he said, “Alright. Have a good night.” And he walked out of the store.
I’m compelled to write this experience on the blog because this type of stuff just doesn’t happen too often in New Jersey. We’re a state with a lot of skeptical people; we have people who are automatically apprehensive towards those that they don’t know. I’ve visited the South many times and it’s a bit disorienting when you’re walking on the street and random strangers greet you with a genuine, “Good afternoon. How do you do today?” It always stops me in my tracks until I get used to it again. That type of forward communication doesn’t happen in New Jersey unless it’s one person looking at another person the wrong way until someone cracks and says, “What are you looking at?”
It’s our way of life in this state. Don’t judge us.
But I had two immediate reactions to this guy coming up to me and saying what he said. First, I immediately felt warmed up in my spiritual heart. I don’t know about you all out there in internet land, but I go to church each Sunday and on Holy Days and I enjoy going to church. I didn’t always enjoy going to church, but I do now and I hope that I will continue to enjoy going to church. So when this person came up to me to tell me things that I pretty much already know and believe in from the teachings of my church – it just felt good.
Second, as I felt warmed up I began to feel better about the horrible situation that I found myself in with no electricity and a cold home to go back to that night. Hey, Jesus loves me – what else do I need, right? 🙂
And the third nearly automatic reaction that I had to this guy was a very small voice in my head saying, “What’s his angle? What’s he up to? Keep an eye on him as he leaves the store and make sure he doesn’t hang around. If he follows you home, drive to the police station instead. Maybe you should confront him outside and see what his deal is. I don’t know if I trust him. He did reference Jesus, but who is he?”
Hey, I’m from New Jersey – I’m skeptical about people sometimes!
Anyway, it was an interesting encounter and an overall good message. Over the last few days, I’ve thought about this message and this guy’s confidence and lack of fear in delivering it. Jesus Christ is coming back and he loves you.
Now that’s a pretty uplifting message if there ever was one!