Brush with greatness

I had the pleasure, moons ago, of being in the audience when the great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar spoke. He was an electrifying presence, and you walked away thinking you could accomplish whatever miracle you set your mind to accomplishing.

“You can have anything you want in this world if you just help enough other people get what they want,” Zig would say. That’s why I have never begrudged rich people their riches: In the vast majority of cases, that wealth represents the millions of people whose lives they made better. The cheaters and the exploiters are outnumbered by the helpers and the philanthropists.

If you had asked me, I would have said that although I watched him speak, I never met Zig Ziglar face to face. I do remember buying his book See You at the Top on the day I attended his talk, and I remember how he made me feel but not being anywhere closer than the balcony to him.

But then one day I pulled the book off the shelf to browse through it, and there, on the first page, was a handwritten inscription: “Warren / Zig Ziglar / John 15:5-7”

That nudged a vague memory of standing in line for a 10-second conversation. So yes, I met Zig Ziglar once upon a time. We shook hands. He smiled and signed my book, leaving a verse that quoted Jesus:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

That day had a lasting impact on me, so it’s odd I had to be reminded that I got a chance to thank him for his inspiration. Gosh, I hope I did!

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