Christian Lawyer - Really??


As you, dear reader, may have read in my other pages, I received Jesus Christ into my heart as Savior and Lord on May 15, 1976, at about 3:30 p.m.  At that time I was finishing my second year of law school, and had become completely burned out.  Several days before that date I had gone to the library at 8:00 a.m., opened a law book, and at 4:00 p.m. I realized that I was on the same page.  Life had come to a standstill.  I was emotionally paralyzed.  But when I bowed my knees to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, 26 years worth of tears were released, and I stood to my feet completely changed emotionally!  (Thank You, Lord Jesus!)

The girl who had prayed with me to receive Jesus as Lord suggested that I should ask Him to give me a hunger for the Scriptures.  The result was that I read the Bible all the way through during my last year of law school, and still graduated!

As I read the Bible, one thing caught my attention - one cannot serve God and 'mammon' (money).  So I resolved that I (so help me, God) would serve God and not serve money.  That decision has saved me from a career of 'billable hours' to focus on what is really important in my life and my clients' lives.

I also read that we should 'put every aspect of our lives on the altar of sacrifice' so that God can sort out what He wants to keep, and what He wants to remove from our lives.  So I put everything, including my career as a lawyer, on the altar of sacrifice by praying that God's fire would consume whatever He wanted to consume, and turn to refined gold whatever He wanted to keep and bless.  No other vocation turned up, so I continued my lawyering career as quite an adventure of legal and spiritual service.

So, what is a 'Christian lawyer'?  I was once asked that question by another lawyer, who was puzzled by a client who had asked if he was 'a Christian lawyer'.  I told him that the client was probably someone who had asked Jesus into their heart to be Savior and Lord, and who wanted a lawyer who had that shared experience.  I also told him that the client probably also wanted a lawyer who would give him or her Biblical advice as well as sound, honest legal advice, and who would join the client in praying for God's will to be done.  The other lawyer told me (with an alarmed look in his eye), "I will direct such inquired to you."

So, what has been the result of being a 'Christian lawyer' in my practice of law?  First, I asked Jesus to bring me into contact with whomever He wanted me to serve, and to keep the rest away from me.  That has greatly simplified my life and legal practice.  Second, the decision to serve God rather than money is that I get to serve whomever He wants me to serve without worrying about getting paid.  That has allowed me to serve a variety of nursing home patients over the years who usually have little or no assets.  I have not gotten rich, but I have been richly rewarded.  I have learned the reality of living on 'daily bread' - which I believe is the plan for all of God's children.  I, like the apostle Paul, know how to be abased and how to abound.  It's really a great adventure, and I would not change a thing that I have experienced along the way.

The result to my clients?  I frequently tell my clients that one of the optional services I offer is prayer.  That allows people to say, 'No, thanks', but most are pleasantly surprised and eagerly want me to join them in prayer concerning their situations.

SEVERAL STORIES:

Some years ago I was called by the local probate court to be guardian for a man named Jack who had suffered a series of strokes and was hospitalized and unable to manage his affairs of life.  So I visited him in the hospital, and found him to be awake (at least his eyes were open), but unable to communicate at all.  So I explained to him that the local probate court had asked me to serve as his guardian, and I proceeded to do so.  I arranged for him to reside in a nursing home, arranged for his apartment to be surrendered back to the landlord, arranged for him to qualify for Medicaid assistance, and generally oversaw his care and finances.  Each week I would visit him and give him a status report.  For months his eyes were open, but there seemed to be no communication.  During that time I also asked him about his spiritual condition - whether he had ever been born again, whether he had been water baptized, whether he knew that he could ask Jesus to save his soul and to baptize him in the Holy Spirit and to let him be a vessel for the Grace of God to flow to others.

Finally, several months later I visited Jack in the nursing home.  As I entered his room I said (as usual), "Jack, how are you doing?"  Jack replied, for the first time, "Pretty good."  (!)  I was greatly surprised, to say the least!!  That was about all that he said on that visit, but as I turned to leave his room I heard Jack say, "Thanks."

Although Jack never regained any mobility or much ability to communicate, he became the nurse's favorite patient.  Apparently he was quite a pleasant person.

Around Thanksgiving Day Jack got pneumonia and died.  I had arranged for a little graveside service for Jack, and although none of his relatives attended, several of his former co-workers attended that service in the cemetery.  I told them what little I knew about Jack over the past months, but was able to tell them that Jack had told me that he had been born again and had been water baptized shortly thereafter.  One of his former co-workers, with tears streaming down his face, told me that he was the youth pastor at a local church and had been sharing the Gospel with Jack for years with no response.  But he was very happy to know that Jack had eventually received his salvation from sin and eternal life in Christ!

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One Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from a lady named Lily, who lived in the Carolinas.  She explained that her daughter had been killed in an automobile accident in the jurisdiction where I reside, and she was looking for an attorney to help her administer her daughter's estate.  I agreed to do so, and eventually told her about my optional service of prayer for clients.  She told me that she had been praying for a Christian lawyer, but had no idea how to find one.  As a result her husband, Bob, she and I have been friends for years, and our lawfirm was able to assist them in administering her daughter's estate and resolving the issues raised by their daughter's death.

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One day I received a phone call from a lady whose husband had died.  She had another attorney start the administration of the husband's estate, but that attorney had asked her to allow me to finish the estate administration.  When she came to my office to initiate that transfer of attorneys, she told me that her husband had died by accidentally handing himself during some sort of weird ritual.  Their teen aged daughter had found her father's body, and had been greatly traumatized by that event.  So I, as usual, told her that I would be happy to serve her legal needs, but that there are issues of life which cannot be resolved through legal processes, and I offered her my optional prayer services - which she gratefully accepted.

After the estate administration was done, this client stopped by my office to say good bye and to inform me that she and her children were moving to her hometown; that they had all not only had their traumatic wounds healed but they also had found new life in Christ and were very happy that we had prayed together during her first visit to my office.  I figured that was why the other attorney had passed this client on to me - either knowingly or perhaps not knowing the real reason for the transfer.

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I hope that these stories help you, dear reader, to understand that a lawyer can actually be a Christian, and that legal services and Christian spirituality can be combined to produce extraordinary result - by the grace of God.