“I was wondering when I’d see you again,” Pastor Benson said with a knowing smile. Devon sat down in the chair that the pastor pointed to and then he started right in with what he’d come to say.
“Look, I’m not here for one of your lectures on purity or waiting for the right woman; I don’t want to hear any of that garbage. I just want to know how I can get baptized so that this honey I got my eye on will go out with me.”
“Well, Devon, you don’t waste any time, do you? Usually, son, all a person would need to do is take the four-week course on the road to a new life and then they’d be ready.”
Devon breathed a sigh of relief.
“I said usually,” Pastor Benson continued. “I sense with you, however, that you need a total transformation of your mind, body, and spirit. Although I am extremely busy, and normally by now I would have transferred you to someone in our counseling department, I believe in my heart that there is something unique about you and that you’re searching for something you haven’t yet experienced in life. Therefore, I’m willing to personally sacrifice my time to work with you -- that is, if you’re willing to be honest with me and if you’re willing to work like you’ve never worked before.”
Devon thought Pastor Benson was crazy, but he knew this would make him look good to Jessica, and he figured that he really didn’t have to do anything the pastor said anyway.
“Okay, it’s a deal,” said Devon decisively.
The pastor changed the subject abruptly, saying, “Well, Devon, what did you do today?”
“You heard me; what did you do today?”
“You mean before I came here … ”
“That is precisely what I mean.”
Now Devon really thought Pastor Benson was a crazy man, but Devon decided to play along. He paused before he said, “Well, I got up, had cereal, watched the sports channel for a little while, and then I hopped in my car and came here.”
“So what’s your sport?”
“Did you see the game last night?” asked Pastor Benson.
“I sure did! I couldn’t believe it --ten seconds and one point away and we missed!”
Pastor Benson said, “Yes, it was shameful,” and Devon agreed, saying, “Wasn’t it amazing at the third quarter when the ball spun around the net and then, just when everyone thought it was going to go in, it fell off the side?”
“Yeah, that was pretty bad.” Pastor Benson shook his head, remembering. “I hope they can get it together,” the pastor said, “but with all the injured players, I don’t know how they’re going to.”
Devon replied, “We’ll just have to see, I guess.”
“That we will,” Pastor Benson said in agreement.
There was a pause before Devon said, “You must have one of the best rides I’ve ever seen -- talk about a beauty!”
“Thanks … that she is,” Pastor Benson responded, “and she drives so smooth, and with the leather interior, sitting in her is like heaven on earth.”
Devon laughed and said, “Well, it’s definitely better than the piece of junk I’m driving! It seems like every month I have to take it in to get fixed.” Devon and Pastor Benson then talked about a multitude of other subjects. Devon was surprised at how easy Pastor Benson was to talk to.
The time passed quickly, and they had no idea that they had been talking for forty-five minutes until Pastor Benson looked up at the clock and said, “Well, Devon, I hate to interrupt you, but we’ve been talking for almost an hour and I need to get some work done. Why don’t you make an appointment with my secretary to come and see me every two weeks.”
Devon got up and left the room. Pastor Benson is a pretty down brother; maybe this won’t be so bad after all, he thought as he walked down the hall and out to his car.
On Sunday Devon saw Jessica in the hall after church. “Hi,” she said as she walked over to him.
“Hi,” he answered, “what’s going on?”
“Oh, nothing much, just school.”
“Really? What are you taking?”
“Medical science. I’m studying to be a doctor,” Jessica replied confidently.
Devon’s mouth dropped wide open.
“Don’t look so surprised!” Jessica said with a hint of a laugh in her voice.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be so rude; it’s just that most girls I know want to be models or actors, not doctors.”
“Well, now you’ve met one girl who does want to be one!”
“What made you want to be a doctor?”
“When my younger sister was diagnosed with leukemia, I saw how the doctors did everything they could for her, and although she died, I always said to myself that I wanted to be a doctor so I could help people like my sister.”
Devon was taken aback by Jessica’s story; he’d never met anyone like her. She was smart, well spoken, and gentle but still straightforward. For the first time in his life he wanted to know Jessica as a person and not just to have sex with her. He wanted to know who she was. The only problem was that Devon had never gotten to know women that way; he had just played with them and slept with them. If Devon were honest with himself he would have to admit that he was scared out of his mind.
When Devon went to see the pastor a week later, he sat back in his chair looking across the desk at the pastor not knowing what to say.
“Do you have something on your mind today, son?” Pastor Benson asked.
“Yeah … sort of, but you’d probably think I was an idiot if I told you what it was.”
“Try me …”
“Okay … you see, there’s this honey --I mean, there’s this young lady -- that I kinda would like to get to know better. But the problem is that she’s so different from other girls I’ve dated. Well, not dated, more like went out with, had fun with, and then dumped. Jessica is totally different, and aside from being totally fine … I mean … good looking, she’s so smart and she’s so amazing and friendly and she’s got her head together. Do you know, the other day she told me that she wants to be a doctor and that she’s going to school majoring in medical science because her sister died of cancer and she wants to help other people like her sister. I mean this girl – this young woman -- is way beyond my league. I feel like nothing when I stand next to her. Here she is wanting to become a doctor and here I am partying and getting laid every night; I mean …” Devon covered his mouth in embarrassment when he realized what he’d just let slip out. He expected the pastor to throw him out right then, but all Pastor Benson said was, “I know what you mean; go on … ”
“Well, it’s just that she’s so perfect and I’m sort of nothing.”
After a long moment of silence Pastor Benson said, “Son, first of all you aren’t nothing; the Lord has put you here for a specific purpose, and He loved you before you were even born. He knows all about your sexual excursions; He knows things about you that you don’t even know about yourself. But you know what? He still loves you. And there is nothing you can do to change His mind. As far as this young lady is concerned, first of all you’ve got to find yourself, and to do that you’ve got to get to know the One who created you.”
Devon had been listening intently as the pastor spoke, and then he said, “I want to -- I really do -- but what if God does the same thing to me that my dad did and He just leaves me?”
“God will never leave you, Devon; in fact, He’s waiting for you to realize that all the women in the world will never be able to give you what He can. I don’t mean to preach to you, but in front of me I see a young man who has potential inside him that he doesn’t know exists; you’re great but you just don’t know it yet; or maybe it’s not that you don’t know it but instead you’re afraid that if you believe it and receive it, you won’t know what to do with yourself afterward. You’ve been the playboy for so long that you’re afraid to be anyone else. You’re afraid that you won’t be good enough for God. Let me tell you something, son: you are good enough; in fact, you’re better than good enough. You’re beyond great. Quite often people who are promiscuous are that way because they don’t realize how great they are, and usually they’re dying on the inside even though they seem to be having a good time on the outside. Let God in, son. It will be the best decision of your life.”
When Devon left he knew he had a lot to think about.