by Mike Ratliff
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB)
My first job as an application developer was with the FDIC. I developed the application that was used by those who went through the Bank inventory process during a bank closing to record that bank’s inventory into a database which resided on a Compaq portable computer. I usually went to those closings to support the app and do whatever was needed to keep things running. When we got back to the office I would take that Compaq, copy the db files off of the hard drive onto a network drive, open those db files with the main database server app, and then upload that data into our main database, then assist whoever needed it in printing reports, etc. I also wrote the code and developed the database for for the main database in our office and the app everyone used to look at each bank’s inventory. However, there was a problem. When I was out of the shop, I was not there to support the main app or db. My boss, the man who hired me was preparing to leave and start his own I.T. company in Dallas and was suggesting that I apply for a job. His boss hired someone to replace him who wanted to change how everything was done. He hated the fact that I was the only one who could work on that system. I was gone for a week to Del Rio, Texas for a bank closing there and when I got back the manager of the office that was the primary user of that system was waiting for me. She said someone had made changes to the system while I was gone and now the system was down. I found the problem quickly and fixed it. I asked who made the change. My interim boss told me he assigned the change to one one of our junior programmers. I made the comment that he had no understanding of the complexity of my code. He made the comment that he wanted the code simplified so anyone in the shop could work on it. I told him I didn’t have the time time for that. That would be an entirely new project. He told me he was going to remove me from all responsibility from any development work until I could get it simplified. I told him to drop dead. I had been offered a job at an Engineering Firm that used the same Networking system we used and this just made my decision easier. I took that job and never looked back.
However, what really bothered me about all this was that the man who hired me had promised to take me with him to Dallas, but, instead, he hired that junior programmer who had fouled up my program. I asked him why. Here is his answer, ‘Well, you remember when I took you to lunch to talk about this a few weeks ago?” I replied, “Yes!” He said, “I asked you about your faith and you sorta preached to me.” Well I didn’t preach to him. I shared my faith with him and witnessed to him. HIs response was, “Man you are really close minded!” The junior programmer he did hire claimed to be a Christian as well, but did everything he could to back stab me and make sure I didn’t get that job. i’m sure he never witnessed to our old boss either. In any case, two weeks later I started my new job at the engineering firm and the first person to call me at my new desk to congratulate me on getting that job was that junior programmer. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I worked at that job about 18 months then they had to downsize and I was laid-off. I was unemployed for about 2 weeks. I was then hired by the bank I had worked for in the early to mid-1980’s to manage the I.T. department in OKC to install all the Networks, configure them, manage the email systems and, oh, by-thew-way, if we need a database developer, we know who to call. I worked for them from 1992 to 2001. I was then hired by a large Hospital management group in Lenexa, Kansas as a DBA. I worked for them from Sept 2001 to Dec. 2021. I retired December 24, 2021.
I have never regretted sharing my faith with my old boss because we are all called to do that. I was a bit taken aback by his response, but I should have expected it because he was a very crass person. The person in all this that I was the most upset with was the other programmer who seemed to be trying to supplant me. I am sure he was feeling a bit guilty about how things went down after he heard I had left. My brethren I have learned that we cannot hold grudges like this. I cannot do that in this case or I will become bitter. I have forgiven everyone involved. I have rejoiced how God worked everything out. Unbelief is the marker of the lost, but it is also rampant in professing Christians. That same programmer and I went to lunch once on s Bank Closing in Stillwater, OK. He told me we were having lunch with a friend of his who was lost. I asked him if it was okay to witness to him. He got a very frightened look on his face and then said it probably be okay. When we met this guy at the restaurant, my co-worker took over the conversation and would not let me say anything. In other words, whenever I tried to get the conversation going towards the Gospel, he would interrupt me and would not let me continue. Why would a Christian do that?
Soli Deo Gloria!