I do not know his name. I have no idea where he comes from or goes to. I have met him twice. In different places, in different settings, he has walked up, introduced himself, and asked if he could speak. For reasons within that I cannot find, I have said yes, twice.
The man has Indian roots. He knows the clichés. His banter was smooth, relaxed in an intensely personal way. Everything about him would normally trigger my defenses. Yet in our two random meetings, I have relaxed, listened, heard God’s voice.
The first meeting was on a hot afternoon in the middle of a busy business and tourist area. I recall taking notice and sharing it with few friends. He could have been local or a tourist. He could have been sincere or running a scam. Until yesterday, I had easily forgotten our meeting, putting his words into the drawer of fond memories that I rarely think about.
In our second, I was struck by the sense of peace I have felt both times. I was caught off guard as I stood in the lobby of a financial center. His dress fit in with the individuals around us. While his banter was as smooth as ever, it was in his eyes I found myself remembering our first encounter. His delivery was still smooth. While he made a pitch for me to support his causes, his was not fussed or put off when I declined. What seemed important to him was that he gave me a message I needed to hear. The reminders echoed God’s whispers earlier that day. He reminded me that his words were not for everyone. He spoke with conviction that they were for specifically for me in this time and place.
When I asked why, he paraphrased Paul. “It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it. So whether you heard it from me or from those others, it’s all the same: We spoke God’s truth and you entrusted your lives.” (1 Corinthians 15.11)