The amazing time the Lord gave me a job to do
My heart leaped with joy upon learning I had just landed a job as manager at a gas station in Pella, Iowa. To some, it might seem like an odd vocation for a college graduate, but for one seeking to evangelize, a gas station was fertile ground. People from all walks of life—Christian and non-Christian—would be walking through the door of the station. I would be there to meet them, get to know them, and look for opportunities to lead them to Christ.
I had just recently quit my job as an announcer at a Christian radio station. Instead of preaching to the choir, I yearned to get out into the world and evangelize among people who did not know Christ.
The job turned out to be everything I had hoped it would be. By being friendly and interested in people, I got to know many of the regular customers. There had been many opportunities to befriend people, listen to their problems, and often lead them closer to Christ.
I came to enjoy my early morning routine at the station. Arriving at 5 a.m. to do inventory each morning provided me with quiet time to pray and reflect before opening at 6 a.m. On one such morning, I was surprised to see a customer at the pump just after I opened.
As I watched the young man pump gas into his car, I suddenly had the strong impression that I should say something to him about Jesus when he walked in to pay. Now, even though this was the reason I was working at the gas station, it was not my style to hit people with Christianity in such a direct manner. I had worked there three months and had never done anything like that. I usually befriended people over time and got to know them before sharing my faith with them.
When the thought first came to me, I said to the Lord: “I don’t want to do this. It’s not the normal way to greet people. I don’t want to seem weird.” Yet, as I watched this professional looking man in a business suit, the feeling grew stronger that God wanted me to say something to him such as, “Sir, Jesus loves you.”
I argued with God: “Lord, let me get to know him first, then I’ll say something.” But the feeling only grew stronger. I had the impression that if I did not do this, I would be disobedient to what the Lord was asking of me.
Although I am not the nervous type, I started getting nervous. The man looked “no-nonsense” and appeared to be in a hurry. He paced about while he waited for his tank to fill.
I thought, “If this feeling is from the Lord, there is only one way I’m going to know and that is to go ahead and say something.” I was reminded of the apostles in the boat when they saw Jesus walking across the water to them. They were afraid and thought he was a ghost. Jesus comforted him and assured them it was him. Peter said, “Lord if it is you, ask me to walk on the water.” Peter then proceeded to get out of the boat, probably much to the surprise of the other apostles. As Peter put one leg out of the boat, he must have been wondering the same thing I was wondering that morning: “Is that really God?” Like Peter, the only way I was going to know if this feeling was coming from God was to get out of the boat.
The guy finished filling his car and made his way to the station. I swallowed hard as he opened the door. Forcing myself to look him in the eyes, I took a deep breath and said, “Sir, Jesus loves you.”
There was a silent pause that seemed to last an eternity. The man looked puzzled but then anger clouded his face. I became even more nervous imagining that he might come across the counter and knock me out. But then, he stopped and shook his head back and forth as if to say, “What is going on here?”
The man then proceeded to tell me that even though it was only six in the morning, already four people had told him that day that Jesus loved him. “What is going on?” he asked.