My Encounter With Clyde

“For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14b)

Some people are ready, some people are not. Some people are ripe for the picking … and some are just not. Today was Clyde’s day to listen.

I had never met this man before, but, as I sat down to eat my lunch, I knew — almost instinctively — that this was a man I needed to share with.

“My name is Danny,” I said to the man, while extending my hand to shake his.

“My name is Clyde,” the man responded (not his real name).

“How long have you been working at this location?” Clyde asked me.

“Oh, not too long,” I replied. “Only since January 18th.” There was a sense of comradery present. Somehow, I felt like “playing” with Clyde. Slowly, I added the word, “1999” at the end of my sentence, but not before Clyde had already made the assumption that I was referring to the current year (2000).

“A little over a month,” Clyde responded, obviously missing the “1999” part entirely. Then, he added the words, “That’s pretty long.” What prompted him to say that I’m not sure (since a little over a month doesn’t seem like a long time to me to be employed), but, as it turned out, it would fit in very nicely with an opening to share the gospel. I could sense we were onto something … we were falling in line with God’s will for our conversation. All I had to do was hear God and obey!

One of the friends at table with us interjected, saying, “No, no, you didn’t hear what he said. He said he’s been with us since 1999 — that’s last year, not this year.”

“Oh,” Clyde responded enthusiastically. That’s a long time!”

I knew that God was speaking to me. The unction was so clear. I could feel God’s presence in-and-around me.

“That which comes to your mouth, speak it clearly, and unashamedly,” the Holy Spirit seemed to be almost whispering in my ear.

My mouth opened wide. I began to speak.

“Jesus said that those who love him will be with him in heaven forever. In light of that, I don’t think that my being here a little over a year is a long time at all!” I responded.

Double whammy! Wow, that was easy to say. Did not Jesus set that whole thing up? I hardly had to lift a finger!

Wide-eyed, and full of amazement, Clyde responded, “W-W-W-When you put it THAT way … you’re right!”

The liberty was present, and so I continued, unashamed, and full of faith. It seemed that “Someone” was paving the way for this conversation, and it surely wasn’t me. All I was doing was attempting to “flow” in the Holy Spirit.

“The Bible says that our life is but a vapor. In light of all eternity that we have before us, we’re only here a very short time! We’re here one day, and the next day we’re gone! When you come right down to it, life is so short!”

Ah … the word had been delivered, on time, and in the right way. I was relaxed, full of assurance, full of faith, and full of peace that God was doing what he wanted to do. I would just “sit back” and let it happen. All of it. Praise the Lord!

The conversation went on a little further than that — I was able to point Clyde towards a Christian website, for example, and let him know that genuinely, I didn’t want to “push” anything on, but that God had been soooooooo good to me these last fifteen year. He seemed to receive all of it quite well. This was a man, it seemed, who was quite “open” to the gospel, and, like ripe fruit, ready to be picked.

Soon, we were off because lunch was over. Three people had heard the gospel. Three more people became more accountable that day. And I had done what God required of me. It was time to move on.

May we all take these words to heart and do our work — not only the work which God has called us to in the “workplace”, but the “real work” of sharing our faith with our friends and colleages, before it is too late.

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4)