And that is how we met Warren, a gentleman in his 70’s. A little off, in his gait but friendly enough. Perhaps he was lonely and just wanting to strike up a conversation. We had just attended church and were having lunch in a Market store on the east side of Milwaukee.
I assured Warren that his gold would be safe with us and off he went.
After Warren came out of the bathroom we invited him to sit with us but he was more interested in trying to keep moving otherwise he might not be able to get up. We did have enough time to have a conversation though.
Jim: “Warren, you’re pretty old”
Warren: “Yes I am, did I tell you that I was in WWII? Infantry.”
Jim: “That’s interesting, I bet you saw a lot of action”
Warren: “Yes I did. The women over there”.
Jim: “No I meant action as in combat?”
Warren: “Oh yes there was that too. But oh, the women.”
Jim: “Warren, thank you for your service to our country. What do you think would have happened to you if you would have died in combat?”
Warren: “I would hope that I would come back as someone different.”
Jim: “You mean that you would have been reincarnated?”
Warren: “Yes. Did you know that back in 1949, the president was….”
Jim: “Warren, what if you would come back as something worse than you are now?”
Warren: “I guess that would have been bad? Did I mention that I’ve lived in this area for over 50 years and have seen a lot of things?”
Jim: “Warren, do you believe that there is a heaven?”
Warren: “I guess there could be. I grew up in the Catholic Church but I don’t believe in what they teach.”
Jim: “If there is a heaven, do you think you’d be good enough to go there?”
Warren: “I guess I would. What do you think about the state of politics right now?”
Jim: “I don’t know but let’s find out if you are good enough to get into heaven, OK?”, “Have you ever told a lie?”
Warren: “Yes I told lies. Once when I was over in Europe, I told a girl that I didn’t have a girlfriend when I did back in the states.”
Jim: “So what would that make you?”
Warren: “I guess that would make me a liar. But oh! The women over in Europe!”
Jim: “Have you ever stolen anything regardless of the size?”
Warren: “Yes I have….What do you think of our mayor?”
And so it went. Warren was the type of person who wanted to go off on a different path than the one I wanted to stay on. It’s best to be kind, respectful, patience but persistent with a person such as Warren so that you can take them through the commandments and show him his need for a Savior. His need for what Jesus did at the cross and the glorious resurrection, so that he may also have eternal life and doesn’t need to guess what will happen to him when he does die.
I don’t know how much Warren understood of what I shared but I do know that he heard the truth and pray that the Lord would do a work in Warren. After all, at his age, how much time would he have left to respond to the Gospel?
1 Peter 3: 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: