Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My First Suit

On Sunday I was going through my closet and came across a suit I never wear anymore. Why? Because it's a 36 waist and I'm a disgraceful 38! It's a sharp-looking charcoal Nieman Marcus suit. It's worn out now (the lining has pulled apart in the shoulders), but I'll bet it cost $500 new. Now, here's the context. Holly and I just bought a nice new house - it's 2600 square feet. This past weekend we went out of town for our annual Valentine's getaway. We stayed at the Westin Stonebriar Resort and Country Club - had a nice dinner, slept in the "heavenly bed," and ordered breakfast up to the room - we spared no expense! Now back to the suit. Ten years ago I got my first preaching assignment in February when I knew nothing and had nothing. When I showed up in Dallas at age 19 I had a visitor's visa that expired in 6 months and $270 in my pocket. As a foreign student I was not allowed to work. I had nothing - nada. I would go out to Mexican restaurants with my classmates and order water. While they ate enchiladas I ate the free chips and salsa! Where was I going to get a suit? A member of the Preston Road Church of Christ (probably one of those evil rich conservatives) gave me his Nieman Marcus suit - gave, not loaned. I was so proud of that suit! I wish I could still fit in it. But I'll never give it away or throw it away. It will always be a reminder to me that I am either the luckiest man ever born, or God has smiled on me! I also keep a $1 bill given to me in 1986 by Marvin Philips (I was 12, dreaming of America, and this was the first real American money I ever saw). Ten years ago I was kid from South Africa with no money and no way to earn money. Today I'm an American, I live in a big house, I preach at a large church, and I take my wife to Westin Resorts. God has used so many kind, hospitable Christian people to bless me. I thank Him, and I thank all those people. And I thank Mr. Nieman Marcus for making the best suit in the world!

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