Purple Sweater

Purple Sweater

Glenn Draper is a Financial Advisor for Merrill-Lynch in Montgomery, Alabama.  He is the type of guy who talks to any human he comes in contact with about having a real connection with Jesus.  When it comes to sharing the Gospel with others he’s as bold as any person on the planet.  It’s rare for him to ever pass up on an evangelistic opportunity.  But one such occasion presented itself where he thought a young man was just too far gone to accept Christ.  Here’s how Glenn describes the event:

“It’s a vivid memory to recall and I think about it often.  In the Spring of 1992 a young college kid was throwing a Frisbee at Vaughn Park in Montgomery.  He was wearing a purple sweater, had long hair and was a  drummer in a rock-n-roll band.  After exchanging a few pleasantries I was looking for a chance to share Christ with this young man.  After conversing for less than five minutes I hesitated to turn the dialog in a spiritual direction.  That’s the only time in my entire life where I thought sharing Christ with someone could not produce any fruit.  I thought it best just to throw the Frisbee with him for a few more minutes then move on.”

When Glenn shares that story I think of a similar account recorded in the Old Testament.  There God calls His servant Samuel to be on the lookout for the next King of Israel.  Judging simply by appearance Samuel keeps wondering which man he will be anointing to be the next leader of the Jews.  Finally the Lord said the Samuel, “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1st Samuel 16:7).  Like Samuel many of us are way too quick to judge a book by its cover.  That’s really not our place.

I’m also reminded of Jesus’ call for all of His followers to be fishers of men.  Never once did He advise us on what the fish should look like, or what types of fish to go after.  It’s like a deep sea fishing trip I took off the Gulf of Mexico several years ago.  The Captain and the deckhand set everything up for us to catch fish.  Our job was to simply put our lines in the water and wait to see which fish took the bait.  We really didn’t know what kind of fish was on the other end of the line until it came to the surface.  Our personal evangelism should be no different—we are called to put lines in the water not knowing what fish will bite and what they will look like.  That’s God’s business not ours.  We are just called to be faithful and let the Lord do the rest.

Returning to where we began, Glenn did go ahead and share Christ with the young college kid who was throwing a Frisbee at Vaughn Park in Montgomery.  From all outward accounts and otherwise he did seem like a very unlikely convert.  But I’m happy to say the Lord was in fact working on that young man’s heart in an amazing way.  He went on to connect to Christ in a real way and credits his conversion directly to Glenn.  And by the way, that young man who was wearing a purple sweater, who had long hair, and was a drummer in a rock-n-roll band…his name is George, he’s now a Pastor, and you are currently reading a blog written by him.  Thought this would put a smile on your face.

George Shamblin


Add grace and understanding to your day with words from Richard E. Simmons III in your inbox. Sign-up for weekly email with the latest blog post, podcast, and quote.

Fill out the form to receive wisdom in your inbox from Richard E. Simmons III.

Reflections on the Existence of God


We’re offering you a free sneak peek of the first chapter of Reflections on the Existence of God, from author Richard E. Simmons III. Enter your email below to receive access!