On a flight home from Colorado, I noticed an ad in a technology magazine. It was promoting a product that was new to me. I’m an early adopter, so I was interested in looking at this new technology. I noticed that the company was in the same industrial park as an upcoming appointment I had with the President of Sega. Even though the address would not be a retail location, I decided to drop by their office and try to get a look at this product. I liked what I saw, but God had another reason for my visiting that company. He had made an appointment for me that was not on my calendar.
When I arrived, the receptionist greeted me, and I explained that their advertisement in Wired magazine had piqued my interest. “I know this is a distribution warehouse, not retail sales, but since I was in the neighborhood, I was hoping to see it.”
She was very gracious and said, “It would normally be available to see, but all the sales people are in Las Vegas at Comdex.”
I showed a bit of disappointment and said, “Oh that’s too bad, I won’t be here again for a month or so.”
As I mentioned, she was very gracious, (And I’m certain was prompted by God) and volunteered, ” The President is here; maybe he will show it to you.” She spoke to him on the phone, and shortly he came to the reception area.
He was a tall slim Korean in his mid-thirties with a strong accent. He was not very talkative until I said that I had recently returned from ten days in Seoul.
He asked the reason for my visit, and I replied, “To spend time with my friends who are in the government.” I told him that I have been to Seoul more than forty-five times and have many good friends there. That really sparked his interest, so I intentionally started to drop the names of my friends. I mentioned the last five Presidents by name as well as their cabinets, numerous senior people in the business world, plus Gi Kwang, the Chief Buddhist Monk of Korea.
He was visibly shocked and asked, “why do you meet with them, are you with the U.S. government?” When I said no, He asked, “Are you a businessman?”
I said, “No I have no agenda except friendship, and now after many years these friends trust me and believe that to be true.” I told him how much I had come to love Korea and my long-term hope is that someday the nation will have leaders that are led by God, not by their own self-interest.
At that point, he stared directly into my eyes without speaking for several uncomfortable seconds. It was an extremely dramatic moment, and later I told my wife that it was so unusual that it seemed like the lights went off, or if they were off, they went on.
When he finally spoke, he said, “you look like a man I can trust, I’ve lost my way, can you help me?”
Those are his exact words, and it stunned me so I said, “Wow, that’s a heavy statement, can you give me a paragraph on what it means to lose your way?”
I knew he wouldn’t want to have this conversation in front of the receptionist, so I suggested that maybe we should continue in his office. After we got to his private office, I said, “Before we talk about this why don’t you tell me a bit about your life’s journey.” The following is a very condensed version of the story he told me. He was an only child who was born in Seoul to parents who were both doctors. They sent him to the best schools and later to Seoul National University, the Harvard, or Stanford of Korea. His major was Computer Engineering; then he came to Stanford University to get his masters. While he was still a student there, he started a company, and it did so well that the newspapers and magazines in Seoul wrote stories about the local boy who hit it big in Silicon Valley. Later a prestigious Korean technology company offered him a position. Now he is President of the U.S. Division of that company. Then his aunt found the perfect wife for him, and they had a son. My experience in Korea helped me understand what a big deal that is for a Korean man. As he talked, He mentioned, “I’ve lost my way” four different times. He did not use the following words, but the sentiment I was picking up was; I have achieved everything I wanted to do and thought it would bring me meaning, but I feel unfilled. I think his statement, “I’ve lost my way,” was his way of saying, “Is that all there is?”
I told him that I do have some thoughts about what you’re experiencing, and he said, “Please continue.” So I said,”Let me start by saying that God made us in his image.”
He interrupted and said, “I don’t believe in God, I’m Buddhist.”
Based on Scripture and many personal experiences, I know that men may be atheistic in their philosophy, but they all have a God given inner awareness of a power greater than themselves. I wanted to speak to that part of him.
So I said, “That’s okay, you don’t have to believe in God, I do, and you asked at the reception desk, “Can you help me?” I don’t know if I can help you, but I have an idea for you to consider. I continued; God created us in His image and gave us free will and the ability to understand right from wrong. He also made us triune beings, so each of us has a body, soul, and Spirit. It looks like you have taken very good care of your body; you probably have a personal trainer.”
He said, “I do, and I was with him this morning.”
Now regarding your soul, which consists of your mind, will, and emotions. You have done an excellent job of training your mind in technology and management. Your emotions seem to be under control, and your will has helped you make some good decisions.
You have given a lot of attention to your soul, but I think you have neglected your spirit, which is the most critical part of your being. Can I talk with you about that?
He said, “Yes I want to hear whatever you have to say.”
I explained a short version of the Garden of Eden and how God created the human race with a spirit that was alive and connected to Him. But our grandparents Adam and Eve decided they wanted to be their own God. When they acted on this, they became disconnected from the life of God, and their spirits died. That meant that all their descendants would also have a dead spirit. All means all, so that includes you and me.
Let me give you an analogy of what it means to have a dead spirit. Think of a car without gas. It’s still a car, but it’s lifeless without the power source that can make it work correctly. In the same way, humans without the life force of God’s Spirit are still humans but are spiritually dead. I suggested that his feeling of having lost his way was God’s way of alerting him to the fact that his spirit was on empty. I asked if I could talk to him about Jesus.
Again, he said, “Yes of course,” but this time he seemed eager to hear what I had to say.
I went on to explain the incarnation of Jesus and His work on our behalf, and this man melted before my eyes. When I asked if he wanted to have his spirit made new, he said yes, and that day he asked Jesus to be his savior, and his spirit became alive to God.
About two weeks later, I was visiting him, and it was like I was speaking to a different person. I brought him the Bible on CD, and he now listens to it on his forty-five-minute commute. As we talked, he shared that he had done something very strange recently. He hadn’t told me on our first visit that even though he has a wife and a son; he also had a mistress. He had given her a credit card, a Mercedes, and an apartment. He said he didn’t understand why he did it, but he told her that he wouldn’t be coming to see her anymore. She could keep the apartment, car, and credit card for six months but then it would end, and she would have to make other arrangements. I explained that this was the Holy Spirit helping him have a life that pleases God.
On another visit, he said that his wife did not understand his attempts to explain God to her and asked if I would meet with her. I agreed, so he chose a famous Chinese restaurant on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. He brought his wife and mother-in-law who lived with them. He didn’t allow much time for small talk; he wanted me to explain God to them even before we ordered. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I tried to repeat what I had told him on our first meeting. They listened but seemed uninterested, however they said they were happy for him. He got mad at them and said, “You aren’t even trying to understand.” Later I explained to him that if I had come to his office a week before I did, it’s likely that he would not have been receptive. I told him that he should pray for them and it will happen in God’s timing. She did agree that evening to put their child in a Christian school so he could learn about God.
This encounter is a wonderful story, but it’s only the visible part of his story. The unseen parts of the story are the months and maybe years that God had been preparing this man’s heart for that encounter. That’s what allowed a man to move from atheist to believer in a couple of hours.
This man is an example of the multitudes of people who are searching for meaning and purpose in life. Most of them are unaware that it’s found in Jesus alone.