We all have them. Some are predictable—meeting your spouse, encountering your children for the first time, perhaps even the death of a loved one.
Some are completely unpredictable.
This is the story of one of those. A completely unpredictable, life-changing moment. And ironically, enough, it came in the form of a cassette tape. Ironic because in day-to-day life I tend to be a person much more interested in brain candy than substantive information. I’m just being authentic and transparent with you. When faced with a long car ride, you will find me naturally gravitating to college football radio or showtunes or old country music. My sweet husband, who is always learning, doing and using time efficiently is probably generally horrified by my lack of motivation. But truthfully, y’all, it takes two to tango and opposites DO attract.
Eric, bless him, loves to tell me about books, sermons and in the old days, cassette tapes, that impact him greatly. He often plays them for me or earnestly asks me to read them. I do listen and sometimes do read, but not as often as he (or I) would like. And I do find these edifying (in case you were wondering). I am just not a sermon self starter, which is a darn shame, truthfully.
Except for this one day, long ago, when Eric shared a cassette tape of a speech given by a man named Stanley Tam and I popped it in the tape deck. And the voice over the radio changed my life forever.
It was an old, reedy voice. The very tenor of his voice spoke to me. It held great wisdom and a bit of bemusement. You see, Mr. Tam explained his life story. As a young man with nothing, he was compelled to give the entirety of his company to God. This was a bit impetuous, because at that point, there wasn’t much of a company at all! As I recall, he first wrote this in a document on a spare piece of paper floating around his car. Later, he legally gave God 51%, and still later, 100% of US Plastic Corp. He lived his life as a conduit for God’s finances. He truly was a steward and never saw his business as “his;” it was completely God’s.
I couldn’t unhear his story, in the best possible way. His own amazement at his life and contentment in his circumstances were abundantly evident.
Little did I know that this was one of those life-changing moments. This one cassette tape on a lonely road in Middle of Nowhere, Texas, had changed me.
Mr. Tam’s story had just laid the foundation for what was to come.