A good friend of mine recently told me a story about meeting the CEO of his parent company. He works for a large company, and the parent is one of the largest companies in the world. My friend happened to be on a trip out of the country, which happened to land him close to the parent company’s global headquarters. So he figured he would set an appoinment to meet with the CEO of the parent company. Hey, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, right?
To his amazement, the CEO accepted the meeting request. This guy heads up one of the largest companies in the world, and he took time out of his day to meet a manager from a subsidiary company basically just to say hello. My friend was floored. And he described the meeting as being very friendly and cordial and he was surprised how accomodating the CEO was.
While I don’t know it for a fact, I am guessing that my friend rehearsed his “hello” greeting a few times in the mirror. He had to make special travel arrangements and took up most of a day to make this happen. He was probably nervous (although this particular friend seems to be entirely fearless). He straightened his tie. Checked for stains on the shirt from lunch. And then walked in, not knowing exactly what to expect.
I enjoyed the story, and I was thinking it over the next day. And it hit me. This was an exciting story about having a few minutes of time with a CEO of a large company. And it was a BIG DEAL. How do I treat the chance to get a few minutes of time with the Creator of everything around me? A few minutes with the man who took my sins down to hell, left them there, and then walked out of a tomb defeating death. How do I treat that? Let’s make a list:
1) I don’t even bother to take the meeting. It’s not that rare that a day goes by I don’t pray at all.
2) If I bother at all, I take the meeting on my own time. I squeeze it in somewhere that I don’t already have something better to do. Maybe I rattle off a few words of thanks while I fall asleep. But certainly nothing that interferes with my busy day.
3) I’ve prayed while sitting on the toilet. Go ahead. Deny that you’ve done it. But the fact is with two kids and a busy job, that room is sometimes the only quiet spot I can find. Well, that’s the justification at least. But thinking this through, it really hit me. I speak to the Creator of the universe while sitting on the toilet. It suddenly seems wrong to me.
4) I treat it like I’m talking to my BFF. “Hey God! What’s up pal? Thanks for my house and food and stuff. I hope Fred’s colonoscpy goes well. Can you hook that up? Gotta run.” [flush]
I started really thinking about who I am praying to. I started thinking that I take meetings with my clients more seriously, WAY more seriously, than I do the opportunity to enter into conversation with God himself. What would the CEO of that global company have done if my friend had rattled off a casual phone call from the bathroom stall? What if my friend had walked in, plopped down in the chair, and said, “Hey buddy. Swell job running the company. Sweet office.” He would never think of it.
Here’s a little icing on the cake. My friend felt lucky that his request for a meeting was honored. But prayer is the opposite. We pray to a God that is asking for that meeting with us. He is asking for a meeting with US. How completely backward is that? And how often is our answer, “Nah. Sorry bro. I’m busy.” How often do we give God the brush off that my friend expected to get from that CEO? How often do we blow off God?
Well I can’t speak for you all. I’m sure you’re all super disciplined about praying. You set aside time instead of squeezing it in among your other important tasks. You sit up straight. You run a comb through your hair. You make sure it’s a quiet time so you can really listen.
But not me. I pray on the toilet, remember? So a couple of days ago, the morning I wrote this, I sat down to read the memo that God, my CEO, gave me. The Bible. I read a whole chapter in one sitting. Okay, it was Titus. So that’s kind of cheating. But it was still a whole chapter. I checked myself in the mirror, and woke up early enough that it was still quiet. I sat up straight. And the gravity of who I was speaking to hit me a little bit. And my prayer was different. I was thankful. But I really meant it this time. I didn’t just rattle off the standard list of stuff I’m thankful for. I prayed for others more than I normally do. Friends with marriages that are failing. A new nephew that was born recently. Some surgeries. Some kidney stones that are shockingly painful for a friend.
It was different when I treated this like a meeting I was having with God. Because that’s what it was.
We were built to be heroes. It’s about time we started acting like heroes.