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Purple Sweater, Lost & Found

Purple Sweater, Lost & Found

Glenn Draper is a Financial Advisor for Merrill-Lynch in Montgomery, Alabama. He is the type of man who talks to any human he comes in contact with about having a real connection with Jesus. 

When it comes to sharing the Gospel, he’s as bold as any person on the planet. It’s rare for him ever to pass up on an evangelistic opportunity. But one such occasion presented itself, when he thought a young man was too far gone to accept Christ. Here’s how Glenn describes it: 

It’s a vivid memory, and I still think about it regularly. In the Spring of 1989, a young college kid was throwing a Frisbee at Vaughn Park in Montgomery. He was wearing a purple sweater, had long hair and was a drummer in a rock-n-roll band. After exchanging a few pleasantries, I looked for an opening to share Christ with this young man. 

We spoke for less than five minutes, and I hesitated in directing our conversation to spiritual matters. That’s the only time in my entire life when I thought sharing Christ with someone could not produce any fruit. I thought it best just to throw the Frisbee with him for a few more minutes, then move on.

Whenever Glenn shares that story, I think of a similar account recorded in the Old Testament—when God calls His servant Samuel to be on the lookout for the next King of Israel. Judging simply by appearance, Samuel keeps wondering which man he will be anointing as the next leader of the Jews. Finally, the Lord says to Samuel, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1st Samuel 16:7). 

Like Samuel, many of us are way too quick to judge a book by its cover. That’s really not our place. 

I’m also reminded of Jesus’ call for all of His followers to be fishers of men. Never once did He explain what the fish should look like, or what types of fish to pursue. Which reminds me of a deep sea fishing trip I took in the Gulf of Mexico several years ago. 

The Captain and the deckhand set-up everything for us to catch fish. Our job was simply to drop our lines in the water and wait to see which fish took the bait. We didn’t know what kind of fish were on the other end of the line until they came to the surface. 

Our personal evangelism should be no different.
We are called to put lines in the water, not knowing what fish will bite, or what they will look like. That’s God’s business, not ours. We are simply called to be faithful and let the Lord do the rest.

Returning to where we began in this column, Glenn did go ahead and share Christ with the young college kid who was throwing a Frisbee at Vaughn Park in Montgomery. From all outward accounts and otherwise, he seemed like a highly improbable convert. But I’m happy to say the Lord was in fact working on that young man’s heart in an amazing way. He went on to connect to Christ in a real way, and he credits his conversion directly to Glenn. 

And by the way, that long-haired young man wearing a purple sweater, who was a drummer in a rock-n-roll band? His name is George, he’s now a Pastor, and you are currently reading a blog written by him. Here’s hoping that puts a smile on your face. 

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