My resume spelled p-o-w-e-r. I was the president and CEO of a multimillion-dollar international corporation, I had ties with the mob, and I owned one of the larger houses of prostitution in the United States. I was involved in racketeering, bookmaking, and gambling. I had a gold Rolex, chauffeured limo, money, my fourth wife, and trophies from my many racquetball championships. I felt I had everything the world said spelled success. And I mocked anyone who dared share his faith in God with me.
One morning, I went to my athletic club looking for someone to annihilate on the racquetball court. As I looked through the little window in the door, I saw a man on the court who appeared to be a Jew. Brazenly, I pushed open the door and demanded, "What are you doing here on Yom Kippur? Why aren't you out doing whatever you Jews do on holidays?"
Paul Grant replied, "I am also a Christian. Yom Kippur is the day Jews ask God to forgive them of their sins for another year. I don't have to do that because I've already received forgiveness through Jesus, the Messiah."
"Oh, please, give me a break," I sneered.
For months afterward, Dr. Grant would stand by his locker while I asked questions, deliberately trying to make him late for his patients. I thought, What a stupid fool. How can this idiot sit here and let me do this to him?
It wasn't until a year and a half later, when my house of prostitution was raided, that I ever took him seriously. In the midst of hundreds of phone calls from men, either worried about where the girls were or concerned their names would be found in my records, only Dr. Grant called to ask, "Are you OK?"
That was the first time in my forty years anyone had ever asked me that question. I was so struck by his concern that when he invited me to go to church with him and his wife, Kathie, I accepted.
Still I didn't make it easy for him. Once in church, I sat on the back row. When the attendant tried to pin a rose on me, I threw it like a Frisbee. Later, when the Grants took me to their home, I heard my first Christian testimony from Kathie.
Kathie is the kind of radiant woman who looks as though she'd never had a zit. I stared at her in disbelief as she told her story about how she had been abused as a child and how she had been the mistress to an oil baron in Indonesia. I figured she'd concocted this story as a way to hook me into some sort of cult, which she called Christianity. But the funny thing is, even though I rejected her testimony that day, I can still tell you the dress she wore. I can still remember the teapot from which she poured. Yet I left their house saying, "That's fine for you, but I don't need that junk in my life."
(My complete testimony follows in appendix 5.)
Through the years, many people came into my life to share their faith, but I would not receive it. I sent these people away, discouraged, because I either insulted them, antagonized them, or persecuted them. And if they walked away from me believing they had failed, they believed a lie. For I never forgot the name, the face, the person, or the words of anyone who ever told me about Jesus.
God is sovereign! If he can take somebody like me and change him, he can take anybody in your life and change him as well. But be aware: you are not responsible for causing a person's heart to turn toward God. Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44). It is God who draws people to himself, not you. But even so, you do not want to miss God-ordained opportunities to share your faith with others, or you also miss opportunities to experience the good things God had planned for you. Philemon, verse 6, says, "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."
You see, success is sharing your faith and living your life for Jesus Christ. It has nothing whatsoever to do with bringing anyone to the Lord. It has everything to do with obedience.
Even if you do not have the privilege to see someone respond the first time you share your faith, you have not failed, because you were obedient.