Have you ever glossed over a person and didn’t realize or know who they were, or how significant they could be in your life? Or maybe what influence you could have on them?
This has probably happened more times that you think.
You never know the paths of people you will come across each day or what they can offer. Their stories may be just what you need.
A person sitting in the booth next to you at lunch who looks ragged and torn could be a millionaire. Or it could be the opposite.
I remember one time I was at a conference in Las Vegas and the keynote speaker was long and boring. My mind wondered a zillion miles away during his rambling and I looked for a fork to stick in my thigh to keep me awake.
After a break, I was in the bathroom and a gentleman next to me made an ill-advised comment about the speaker and wondered who was responsible for putting this tedious person on stage.
“That would be me,” were the words that quickly came out of the stall next to him. It was the president of the company.
The man who made the snarky comment was embarrassed and his voice quivered after he was asked to introduce himself to the head of the company.
Be careful what you say and who you say it around. This is a good practice especially if you don’t know everyone.
But this was not the case for Michael Lorenzen.
Michael is a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds and a fan favorite. His story of redemption always sends chills down my back. I remember those feelings when I was in the clubhouse in Cincinnati before a game when he relived his life-changing moment with me.
Michael’s story is highlighted in Chapter 9 of my new book, Dugout Devotions, Inspirational Hits From MLB’s Best.
Here is a portion of the chapter:
“I kept hearing his words and couldn’t get away from them,” Michael told me. “I couldn’t sleep because his words were just there in my mind. Over and over and over.”
He was a junior baseball star at Fullerton High School in Southern California. He displayed a confidence in life and on the field and dreamed of the day he would play in the Big Leagues. He had many friends due to his stardom and personality. However, without any real church influence or positive role models in his life, he turned to drugs and alcohol.
His life changed forever on a high school homecoming night. He and his buddies headed to one of their favorite hangouts on the Huntington Beach Pier. Amidst their fun, they noticed an older man they had never seen before. They edged closer and listened to what he had to say. The stranger grabbed his attention, and he stayed and listened.
The words were about Jesus and how the Lord would save Michael if he asked.
His friends ridiculed the preacher who approached the group of friends and asked if he could share the story of Christ with them.
Although Michael was high on drugs, he remembers the story about a man who died for his sins. The story about how the Savior was crucified on the cross and rose three days later echoed in his mind.
“I got convicted right there,” he said. “I was high, but I knew right from wrong. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I needed to change my life.”
Michael and his friends had entertained an angel unaware.
A few days later, he surrendered the call and gave his heart to the Lord. He tried to find the mysterious preacher, but never could.
Michael told me he hung out at the pier quite often and never seen the man before that one night, or since. He even went back to the pier a few times to find him, but it was in vain.
Once encounter changed his life forever.
God put Michael and the preacher together for one reason.
How do you act in front of people? The way you present yourself can have an impact on someone you don’t know for the rest of their life.
An evening out with your family can be ruined by one lousy and noisy customer. Or it can be remembered by a random act of kindness.
Imagine the impact you can have if you leave a generous tip with a note of encouragement and a Bible verse. Perhaps you can influence someone if you are polite, smile and tell them they are appreciated for their work.
Don’t be that embarrassing parent who is removed from a high school game by a referee or the person who is loud and obnoxious in a movie theater.
Your actions will leave an imprint of your character everywhere you go.
Make sure you are the angel being entertained.
And oh yes — grab a copy of my book to find out how Michael’s chapter ends because there is much more to the story.
Let me know your thoughts on this post.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER - 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful —can be purchased on Amazon.