H. Wayne Huizenga Jr. aka "Junior" in his own parlance, spoke twice in the Hampton Roads area yesterday; once in the Leadership Prayer Breakfast and again in a special chapel at Regent University.
I've heard famous folks speak before, and to quote Forest Gump, " (famous speakers) are like a box of chocolates, you never know when they're going to get goey and ooze onto the floor or when you'll bite into one that looked good but turned out to be licorice flavor, ukkk!" Maybe that wasn't Forest Gump, but I'm sure someone said that.
From the outside, the box of chocolates looked good; famous wealthy guy from a famous wealthy family who was living the American dream. His bio says he's the President of the holding company that owns a controlling interest in the Dolphins and their stadium, which seems a bit convoluted, but hey; who's kidding whom--this is the guy who gets to sit in the luxury sky box and watch his favorite team every week in the fall--pretty much every little boy's dream! As he said, he had the cars and the houses and the travel and the lifestyle that we all want. But it wasn't enough.
Now I've been around church to know what was coming next. Like the little boy in Sunday School when the teacher asked him "What has a furry tail, climbs trees and eats nuts?" responded "Teacher it sounds like a squirrel, but this is Sunday School so I know the answer has got to be God or Jesus." I knew the answer was going to be "Jesus" (which of course I don't disagree with) but somehow my life has always seemed more complicated than that.
That's when this box of chocolate surprised me. Junior described his encounter with Christ, without hesitation and in powerful detail. But the most powerful part to me was his transparency in describing the steps and the stages by which he discovered that Jesus was the answer to his problems.
First, he was blessed to have a friend he enjoyed, who entered his world with whom he had fun. They did guy stuff like go fishing and ride submarines. Cool. Then he noticed there was a difference in the way they lived their lives. Junior asked great questions, "Why are we so different?" Then he responded by going to church. I loved the fact that he couldn't find any of his immediate friends who went to church. Really it makes me sad, because most church-type Christians have few "unchurched" friends. Then about 18 months later (if I have my facts straight) he had an old-fashioned "get saved" experience at a church. And even then he professed a discomfort with that label.
Wayne Jr. was extremely open, vulnerable and transparent with the struggle to "keep your eyes on Christ" while having alot of money. He talked about steps he takes regularly to grow in his faith, and to model his life on that of others he admires. He talked about ways he attempts to avoid mistakes his dad may have made in giving too much time to business. I came away thinking, "I relate to this guy, and his process of becoming more Christlike, less focused on self, and being honest along the way."
So for once, I reached into the box of chocolates and the one that came out was even better than it looked. Way to go Junior, our prayers are with you.
PS (Any way I can get tickets for this year's Super Bowl?)