After speaking at an event in San Francisco, a lady approached me with a request. We had never spoken but I knew who she was because she is very visible in the financial circles of the city. She mentioned the names of some mutual friends and said she had heard so much about me that she and her husband would like to get to know me over dinner. I agreed to a time two weeks later, and her choice was one of San Francisco’s finest restaurants.
When I arrived, she was already there and had arranged a private room. She apologized that her husband was caught in traffic, but he will be here shortly. I sat down, and she immediately began to tell me about her husband. He was a wonderful man, but he had no interest in God, and she had been praying for years that he would “get saved.” She went on to tell me that she has taken him to hear Billy Graham and several other well-known evangelists but he is still “unsaved.” Her super-spiritual language and some of the things she said caused me to think that one of those seed-faith evangelists on TV had heavily influenced her. It took just a few questions to confirm my suspicions, and I thought to myself, “bet she sent him a lot of money.” I eventually understood that her concern for his spiritual welfare was out of love and quite genuine, but wondered if her husband was rejecting the TV personality rather than God. Actually, that turned out to be very close to the truth.
After forty-five minutes, Steve arrived and in my judgment was making a statement that he did not want to be there. She jumped up and hugged him, and said, “Oh, Steve, I am so glad you finally got here because I’ve been talking with Glenn, and I think he is the man who can save you.” Hoping she could not hear me, I turned to him and quietly said, “I am really going to disappoint your wife tonight because that is not who I am.” He said, “oh really, who are you?” Of course, that made it even more awkward, and the only thing I could think to say was; I live in Grass Valley, and I come to the city often to visit my friends. So he asked, “Who are your friends?” Since I have many friends, I thought for a moment, who should I mention. I now know that the Lord prompted me to say just the right person. I told him, I have many, but the first one that comes to mind is the President of a certain company and mentioned him by name. His face softened, he smiled and said, I’m his personal attorney. That seemed to break the ice, and we talked about their common love for golf, and a number of other things. When I told him that we had played golf several times, he invited me to play golf with him at the San Francisco Golf Club. I took him up on it, and we became friends.
Our friendship seemed very genuine even though it started in such a bizarre manner. He was an attorney but the majority of his time was given to an investment group that he had put together. They invested exclusively in Asia, and since I traveled to China from time to time, I invited him to go with me to play golf with the Vice Premier. He was very excited about that, but unfortunately, was unable to go due to a broken ankle. However, we continued to meet regularly, and before long, he was asking questions about God. One day we were in a very substantial discussion, and it seemed to be helping him when he got an urgent phone call that made him leave immediately. He was frustrated and said; next time we meet could we spend the whole day talking about God. Of course, we did that and then had dinner as well. That was a marathon day of talking about Jesus.
Then there was that special day we were having lunch at his private men’s club. A former Secretary of State, was having lunch at the table next to ours, and Steve knew him so they chatted for a few minutes before he sat down with me. As we were looking at the menu, I started to feel God prompting me that today is the day to be very direct with Steve.
So after the soup had been served, I said, Steve, you and I have had some very deep discussions, and I have come to believe that your questions have mostly been resolved. I think today is the day you should surrender your life to Jesus, and I think it is right at this table that you should do it. You know all the right words already, and we have talked about the fact that you don’t need to close your eyes to pray. So why don’t you make this the day that you become a child of God? It might even be fun to mark the day in your memory as the day you received Jesus while sitting at a table next to your friend the former Secratary of State, and he didn’t know you were praying. You can pray silently with your eyes open because all you need to do is open your heart to Jesus. It’s your call, but I am going to eat my soup now.
He was silent while I was eating my soup and then he said with real certainty. “I did it.” In the months following, it seemed obvious that God had heard his silent prayer and made him a new creation in Christ.
Later while attending the engagement party for his daughter at the same private club, his wife said she was unsure if Steve was saved because he doesn’t sound like it. I felt strongly that I should be very forthright and candid with her. I said; “Steve will likely never be a Praise the Lord type of guy or say Hallelujah or Glory like you do, but then neither do I and I know for certain that I’m In Christ.” I would like to report that this put her mind at rest about Steve going to heaven, but I doubt it.
However, I consider him a brother in Christ, and we continue to meet.