V, I’ll call him. Read carefully because you may meet him one day too. The first time I met the man, I just knew there was no way on earth I could like him.
He is a very set in his ways elderly man working as an advisor for the company I am employed by. You understand what that means? He is paid a lot of money to find everything that I am doing wrong and then advise the company on how badly I’m doing it and then of course how much better his way is. His paycheck depends on my failures.
His first words to me were, “Who are you?” You would have to catch my tone to grasp what my ears heard.
‘and……. just who are you?’
Months into this process, I became tolerant of V, but by no means does this mean I took a liking to him.
Earlier this week I encountered what is becoming a regular day at work. Grueling. Orders were not being delivered on time, paperwork was stacking up, and I was catching grief from both ends of the food chain.
The thought ran through my mind that this job was not worth all this (actually, more than once). I really began to seriously consider my options.
Then V walked through the door. This was surely the last straw. If I thought the day could not get worse, his arrival was surely evidence that it could.
Rather than speak as I expected, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a gift… for me. It was his reason for coming to my office; to bear a gift. His gift was a cross made from an olive tree in Jerusalem. Traveling Israel, he thought enough to bring me a gift; a gift for a selfish scoundrel consumed by self-pity.
Even though it was very difficult to show gratitude when I’d been so recently ungrateful, I thanked him while fighting back the tears forming behind my glasses. My countenance was rocked. V’s gift changed my entire outlook on my job and my day. The Cross has that effect, doesn’t it?
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
V is still finding everything I’m doing wrong, but my appreciation for, and now my conversations with V are radically different. We have the greatest common link in the universe, and that link is Jesus. V calls me his fellow Christ-follower.
A thousand lessons have battered me with this relational mishap (on my part), but the one that motivates me most is the thought that I had written someone off as beyond the pale; someone to not even attempt to engage with, only to find him ministering to me.
Praise the Lord, V is a faithful believer who knows the benefit of the Cross… and acts on it.
The Cross; its message is timeless; its reach endless; its ability to stop a wicked heart (like mine) in its tracks unrivalled; the Cross that bore the bruised, beaten, and sin-stained body of my Lord and Savior; the stains that were mine, like those I was guilty of just moments before V’s gift.