We got to Dallas. I went to the bookstore; I got a copy of Taylor’s Bible stories. And I started reading the stories to him –at age seven, you know– I thought he could relate to that more nearly than he could the old King James, which was so popular in those days. And as some of you might suspect by now, I kind of –you know– bring a little extra to the stories. Now I don’t add to the Bible, don’t misunderstand, but I kind of dramatize, you know.
And everybody’s favorite story is David and Goliath. Everybody knows that, I mean, that’s just a given. And when we got to David and Goliath, you know, as I was dramatizing –you know, talking about a big ol’ nine foot plus Goliath and little bity David who hadn’t even started shaving yet– and he runs up there and he says to his brother, “What’s that fella doing?” And they said, “Why David, can’t you see? He’s challenging us!” Now you understand for forty days and forty nights Goliath had been brain-washing them. “You dirty dogs, I’ll kill you! Send somebody out to fight!” And David said, “I’ll take him on.”
And they said, “David, you’re crazy. People get hurt fighting fellas like that!” They looked at Goliath, you know, and figured he was too big to hit. David looked at him and knew he was too big to miss. It’s the way you look at things. They looked at Goliath and compared him to them and that made him big. David looked at him and compared Goliath to God and that made Goliath awfully small.
I’m here to tell you, I was telling that story to my boy and I said, “Son, wasn’t David a brave boy?” And you got to kind of reverse our ages now –you got to make him 45 and me seven– as he said, “Yeah Dad, David was brave but Goliath was the brave one.” I said, “Oh, how do you figure that, boy?” And he said, “Well Dad, you got to understand. Goliath was out there right by himself. David had God with him.” I said, “Boy, you know I never thought about it like that.”
Now I got a smart son, but he ain’t that smart. That was God’s Holy Spirit that was speaking through my son.
God manifested himself in another way. I’d been invited to send in some information with a major national company to use in their international sales manual. I sent them all the stuff, wrote them a glowing report on myself. Pointed out how marvelous I would be as their presenter, you know, and just knew I was going to get the deal. I obviously was the best qualified, and surely they would invite me.
About a month later I got a letter. It said, “We’re sorry, we decided to get somebody else.” Well, you know I’m always of a stiff upper lip. I tell you, I put up that good front –you know– you win some, you lose some, some are rained out. But I really was disappointed. On the trip to Corpus Christi I called back and talked with my office and they said this company has called you. The man they had originally selected to do some of their regional conventions has filthy language. They cannot and will not use him. They want you.
And it seems that God almost interrupted the conversation and said, “You see there, boy, when you leave it up to me I’ll handle things for you.” Now understand, God handles Himself and manifests Himself differently in different ways. Don’t ever think for one moment that everybody has the same experience. Each one of us are individuals –God deals with us differently.
Almost immediately after I became a Christian, a need arose in our family. And understand I was broke and in debt at that particular point. And something happened and we immediately needed an extra $500 a week. And I want to emphasize that in 1972, $500 represented a considerable sum of money. We were already struggling.
Something amazing happened. This major corporation, one of the fortune 500 –I had done a series with them. And about that time they wrote me a letter and said, “We want you to do another series, but if you don’t mind we would like to pay you in advance so that we can get it in this year’s budget.” Well, because of my gracious understanding nature, I, you know, agreed to go along with their request –regretfully, of course– but I agreed to go through with it.
Now here’s the interesting thing: In all of the years before, and all of the years since, that has never happened again –where anybody wanted to pay me for a series in advance (Occasionally for a fee they would pay me in advance). That met our needs. We have a great God, ladies and gentlemen. My picture of what a Christian is changed immediately. My picture of faith changed immediately.
You see, I believe that faith is a football game and a car payment. I don’t know how many of you are football fans, but do you remember a few years ago when the Dallas Cowboys were playing Minnesota for the NFC championship up in Minneapolis? How many of you remember that particular game? Well, any casual observer of the game — and I’m going to tell this in a completely non-biased, unprejudiced way. I will simply give you the facts in the matter, as any dedicated diehard loyal Dallas Cowboy fan would give it.
Now it was obvious to anybody that the Cowboys was the vastly superior team. We should’ve had them about 68 to nothing going down at the end. But there it was, we had 54 seconds to play. The Cowboys were behind. It was fourth down, nineteen to go, we were on our own 22-yard-line, and incredibly enough some of the Dallas Cowboy faithful at that point lost their faith. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. They said, “Same old Cowboys –we don’t get beat, we beat ourselves.” I sat there in astonishment. I said, “Hey, don’t worry about a thing. Hey, we just got nineteen yards to go for a first-down. We still got 54 seconds left. Starbuck is good and healthy. No problem.”
Well you remember the very first play. He sent Drew Pearson straight ahead. He got down to the 49-yard-line of the Vikings, headed for the sideline. And just as he got to the sideline Starbuck hit him with a perfect pass. Now while Pearson was up in the air, one of those Vikings pushed him out of bounds –Now that ain’t right. And they caught him at it. And so we got the ball right there, and the stadium erupted. Everybody jumped up and down and started whooping and shouting and hollering and acting like a bunch of teenagers. I just sat there, never moved. Calm, cool, and collected. Ol’ Icewater Ziglar. I’m telling you –there was no doubt in my mind who was going to win that ball game. No way were the Cowboys going to lose.
Well, on the very next play –our center had gotten hurt on the last one– the substitute center dribbled the ball back to Starbuck on the frozen turf. Starbuck had to grab it up. He had sent Preston Pearson over the center –bad pass, incomplete– everybody moaned and groaned and I said, “Hey don’t worry about a thing. We’ve still get nearly forty seconds left. It’s only second down. Starbuck is still in control. Everything’s going to be okay.”
Well, you remember the next play. He sent Drew Pearson straight for the end-zone. Little bity guy, four feet eleven, weighed about 78 pounds. And Starbuck put the ball up in the air and it stayed there two minutes and 29 seconds. By the time it got down, Pearson was surrounded by nine of those Vikings, kicking and scratching and clawing –one of them even bit him. Pearson ignored the crowd, and caught the touchdown pass, wins the game –the stadium erupted! I never left my seat. Never was there any doubt in my mind about the outcome of that game. Now, I gotta confess one of the reasons that I was so confident is because I was watching… a replay.
And you say, “Ziglar, you dirty dog. The game was over; your team had already won. You had absolutely nothing to worry about!”
You see, that’s what being a Christian is. I never played football. I was too little, too slow, too scared. I have a low threshold of pain. I didn’t play football, but they tell me that there’s a big book of rules. And they tell me that regardless of how good you are, if you break enough of the rules that you’re going to lose the game. Well, in the game of life there’s also a book. But this is a book of love. And I have read this book. I read the last chapter. I know how the game ends. I know I’ve already won it. Now if you know how the game ends, and you know you’ve already won it, doesn’t that remove an incredible amount of doubt, and fear, and frustration, and worry out of your life? That’s what is exciting to me about it, knowing Christ.
You see, I believe faith really is a car payment. I get so amused at the number of people who say, “Well Zig, you know, I have no trouble at all with Genesis 1:1 ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ I have no trouble at all believing that Christ broke the bread and fishes and fed the multitude. I have no trouble believing that God split the Red Sea and over two million Jews walked through on dry land. I have no trouble whatever believing those mighty miracles of the Bible. But Zig, you see I have a car payment, and it’s due next Thursday. Now God can split all that water He wants to, but He’s never dealt with one of these finance companies before.”
You think of the absurdity in that! Yes, Lord I know you created the universe but let me tell about that woman I married. Lord I don’t believe you could get along with her. Or, Lord let me tell you about that man I’m married to. Or let me tell you about that teenager, that child of mine. Lord, I know you did all of these other things but let’s face it –you can not get personal and solve our day to day problems. How absurd can we get?
As Mary Crowley used to say, so often, “God can mend any broken heart, provided you’ve given Him all of the pieces.”