An Awesome Encounter :: By Jim Towers

Today as I approached the fishing pier, I had a conversation with God, telling Him that I was more than ready to share the good news of the gospel with someone – anyone.

“Father, I am more than willing to share the gospel with anyone you will to hear it. Put this person in my path that I might fulfill my mandate today. Thank you for the great privilege and confidence you’ve placed in me to be on the front lines of this spiritual battle…. Amen.”

With that, I continued my journey to the center of the pier where I had determined to have a light lunch I had picked up earlier. I had always found seating on the two picnic benches in the pavilion at the center of the pier. Today it was packed with people, so I walked to the other side, where behind the concession stand is a narrow walkway you can fish from facing south. It’s a place I had never used, but because it was shaded and hardly ever used by anyone, I went there. Sure enough, except for one young man. So I made my way to the center and began to have lunch.

I finished lunch and turned to the young man who was fishing with an enclosed reel attached to his fishing rod – a Zebco. I asked if he fished in the area often, and he answered that he had never fished except in Michigan with his mother – in fresh water.

“Your reel is going to eventually lock up unless you rinse it off in fresh water after using it in salt water,” I said.

“I never knew that,” he answered.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“Michigan, a few miles west of Detroit.”

“Ann Arbor?”

“Yes, Ann Arbor. Do you know of it?”

“I’m from Lansing originally.”

And so we had a good base to start a conversation from. He told me he was nineteen years old, that his father and mother were divorced, that he aspired to become an aeronautics engineer, and had applied to Michigan State University. I then told him my sister had worked at Michigan State University for over thirty years.

He introduced himself, and I gave him my name. I began explaining the fishing situation here on the pier since he said his mother was buying a house here in Naples and he would be coming out to the pier as often as he could.

I clued him in on what line and when to use leaders since he said he was going out to buy the right fishing gear. Then I went so far as to give him some extra lures I had with me, explaining how they worked and why.

Finally, I asked about his religious training, and he answered that he didn’t have any.

“My parents never talked about religion. He is Jewish, and she is a non-practicing Christian.”

My heart went out to this decent young man who obviously grew up without a father figure to mentor him.

From there, the words just flowed from my mouth. “Did you know that Jesus was a Jew?”

“No way!”

“Yes, and His Apostles, Matthew, Mark, and John were all Jews as well,” I said.

“As a matter of fact, the Christian faith is a continuation of the Jewish faith. The Old Testament told that one a day a Deliverer would come and die for the sins of mankind.”

“Really !?”

“Yes, it’s all right there in the Bible. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by me.” As a matter of fact, the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old Testament.”

“I never knew that,” he muttered. Poor soul, I thought. All of what I was saying was new to him. He knew absolutely nothing about the things of God, so I proceeded to tell him the creation story of man. “In the beginning, God said let us make man in our image and in our likeness, naming the attributes given to man. God placed Adam in the garden of Eden and taught him how to tend it. He also had Adam name all the animals and visited with him in the evening in the garden. God then thought that man might like a companion, and He caused Adam to go into a deep sleep. Then, taking a rib from the man, he created a helpmate for him, perfect for him in every way.”

That’s how elementary I had to be with this young man – like he was going to Sunday school class for the very first time in his life.

I quoted other scripture verses to him – especially scripture that had to do with salvation, and told him that I wrote about such things. He was impressed. I also told him about my having received Christ and how it changed my life forever.

I had never before met such a fine, attentive young man. I gave him my card, and when we finally parted ways, I felt that this encounter was the answer to the prayer I had asked for in my conversation with God – and I had found a new friend as well.

The sad thing that occurred to me was that he was only one of millions of young people who didn’t have a clue about the existence of God or the Gospel. This situation is all too prevalent in today’s society due to the breakup of the nuclear family in which children are left to fend for themselves. My hope is that more and more young people know these truths and thus are able to make the decision to follow Christ and be saved.


Jim Towers

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