When Your Faith Should Be Silent

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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I remember the first time I met Dave. He had a simple job making minimum wage, but he was about to make a lasting impression on me.

Navigating my car down the tight circles of the parking garage, I waited in line to pay the fee. I gave my money to the short, bald man with the oversized glasses and waited for him to push the button that would allow me to leave. I didn’t make conversation and didn’t expect any. In the city, that’s how you do business. But the man with “Dave” on his nametag wasn’t going to let me go that easily.

“Did you know that this is the day the Lord has made?” he asked, handing me back a five and three ones. “May the Lord bless you!”

I pulled into the traffic on the street flabbergasted at what had just happened. He stuck his neck out to a stranger to give a blessing!

As I got to know Dave, I was energized by his faithful living. Stuck in a three-by-five booth for eight hours a day, in heat and cold, this man never saw himself as any less than blessed. In the pecking order of society, his job was pretty low. But he used it as a platform for the highest calling.

Over time, Dave and I would become friends—at least for the fifteen seconds we interacted each day as I exited the parking garage next to my office building. We shared biblical insight, lines from songs, and support for each other.

And it wasn’t just me. He had an impact on hundreds of people every week, each one of them getting a daily dispensation of his heart.

He didn’t proselytize so much as he lived and oozed his belief. People—regardless of their faith—would look forward to that final word of encouragement from Dave. They could tell him if they had a bad day, or if the boss was riding their back, or if their spouse wasn’t treating them right. And he always came through with just the right word.

What a ministry.

During the slow times, he would clean up the garage. Once, without him noticing, I observed him while he swept up a pile of trash someone had carelessly dumped out of their car. Despite the lack of consideration by the offender, Dave’s heart was on other matters. He loudly sang a spiritual, a song about God caring for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. “That’s why I sing, Glory!”

He made me smile. The man was a blessing.

One Monday, he wasn’t in his booth. A younger girl was at his station inside the toll booth. Maybe he was sick or took a day off. A week later, I finally asked, “Where’s Dave?”

The girl looked up, then away. I knew something was up. “I’m his friend. Is something wrong?”

Her eyes welled up. “He got fired,” she said. “He’s been coming up short in his till.” She bit her lip and closed the window to her booth.

I drove away confused and angry. He had been stealing! I couldn’t believe it. This workplace hero had such depth and vital grasp of his faith. He was so vocal and transparent about his heart.

Right then, I wished he had never said anything at all.

Image by Daniela Vladimirova. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by David Rupert.