Like many attorneys, Dan Scott works an average of 55-65 hours a week. Yet, with all the demands of being the founding attorney of a law firm, Dan still makes time in his schedule to serve as a Gideon and devote time to making an impact for the Kingdom. His experience as a Gideon has impacted not only him and his family but also those in his community and beyond.
THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
Driving home from a concert one night back in 1977, Dan and his wife, Faith, were struck head-on by a drunk driver. Dan’s injuries were minor. Faith’s injuries were much more severe, and she was rushed by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Sitting anxiously in the waiting room of the intensive care unit, Dan was struggling to keep it together. One of the medical team members approached him with sobering news. “Mr. Scott, we don’t know if your wife will survive. If she makes it through the next two hours, we’ll let you see her.”
It hadn’t even been three years since he and Faith exchanged wedding vows. And now, it looked as if the young couple’s lives together might be over. Friends and family raced to the hospital in the middle of the night to be by Dan’s side, as together they cried and prayed.
One of them picked up a Bible placed in the hospital by The Gideons and began reading aloud from the first chapter of James. The words of the passage struck a chord in Dan’s weary heart. He walked into the stairwell to return to the intensive care unit. Upon reaching the landing at the top of that lonely flight of stairs, Dan broke down crying out in desperation to the Lord.
In times of crisis, it is common to make bold pledges to the Lord only to fall back into living life on our own terms once the Lord delivers us through the storm. Dan was different. He was making a commitment to his Creator as binding as any legal contract. For the first time in his life, Dan truly surrendered his life to the Lord. Immediately, he felt the peaceful presence of God upon him.
For the first time in his life, Dan truly surrendered his life to the Lord. Immediately, he felt the peaceful presence of God upon him.
Dan approached the patient bed where Faith was still lying unconscious. “Baby, you’re going to be okay,” he whispered. In the weeks to follow, the Lord continued to work a mighty healing in both Faith and Dan. It was a healing that restored them physically and spiritually.
WHEN IRON SHARPENS IRON
Years later, in 1987, Dan and Faith were busy raising a young family. Dan was also working hard to establish himself as an attorney. One day, a letter arrived inviting him to a new member dinner hosted by members of a Gideon camp. The letter said his pastor recommended him for membership in The Gideons International. Dan was speechless.
Instantly, scenes of that life-changing night when he encountered a Gideon-placed Bible in the hospital flashed through his mind. Another scene that raced through his memories was that of a Gideon presentation at his own church. The speaker was a Gideon and a fellow church member named Joe. Dan had tremendous respect for Joe. The testimonies Joe presented of people coming to know Jesus through the ministry of The Gideons made a strong impression on Dan.
These inspiring flashbacks made Dan think this invitation had to be a mistake. Sure, he was active in his church and was indeed in love with the Lord, but he wondered how he could be qualified to join a group of men who were so well-respected throughout the community? Dan called his pastor to make sure he hadn’t meant to recommend another church member. His pastor assured him; he believed Dan would be an excellent fit for The Gideons.
Dan attended the new member event. Toward the close of the evening, the speaker asked if any guests felt called to join The Gideons. It would have been easy for Dan to simply leave the event without committing to join. He and Faith were raising their young children, and Dan was putting in long hours at the office. “I was committing everything I had to be the best lawyer I could. I was successful,” Dan says. “But you know, nobody was coming to Christ by what I was doing for a living. I really do believe that there’s a place called ‘hell.’ And real people are dying and going there for eternity.” He responded to the call to join that evening. “They didn’t have to ask me twice if I wanted to be a member. I was just absolutely blown away that I would be able to serve with those guys.”
Dan began attending meetings with other Gideons. He immediately got a glimpse of what being Men of God looked like in The Gideons. “At the first prayer meeting I attended, they said, ‘Well, we’re ready to pray,’ and they started pulling out their chairs. I didn’t know exactly what to do. I just did what they did.” What those Gideons were doing is what Gideons around the world do every week. They were kneeling in submission to the majestic power of the Lord and lifting up their prayers. “It absolutely blew me away,” says Dan. “These guys were getting on their knees where the only thing that mattered at that moment was the conversation they were having with the living God.”
“These guys were getting on their knees where the only thing that mattered at that moment was the conversation they were having with the living God.”
STRIVING SIDE BY SIDE
Those prayer times have been life-changing for Dan. They changed how he viewed his opportunity to be a godly influence on others when he returns to the office on Mondays. Rather than viewing his professional status as one of earthly prominence, Dan sees himself as a child of the King who has been given a chance to impact the lives of those around him. As an attorney, Dan is an expert communicator. However, even with his masterful persuasion skills, Dan was timid when it came to personal witnessing. “I wanted to tell people about Jesus, but I worried: What if I mess this up? What if they don’t come to Christ?”
Spending time with other Gideons and seeing their commitment to sharing the Gospel greatly impacted Dan. These were men whose priorities and conversations were focused on things of eternal consequence rather than the upcoming football game or home improvement projects. “When you’re around these guys, they’re not spending all their time talking about NASCAR. They’re talking about how they shared Christ with the lady at the checkout stand and how she just took that Testament and held it so firmly like it was worth a million bucks,” says Dan.
Dan prayed to the Lord about his fears in sharing Jesus with others. “Please, Lord, will You give me some way to get past this because I don’t think this fear is from You.” It was then that Dan felt the Holy Spirit impressing a fundamental truth. The message to him was, “Dan, you can’t lose any of them because you can’t save any of them.”
“When I had that experience,” says Dan, “I came to realize that I couldn’t save a single person. If I couldn’t save them, I couldn’t lose them. I no longer have that fear of rejection because I know that when they reject the Gospel, they’re not rejecting me; they’re rejecting Jesus.” That insight has led Dan to routinely seize opportunities to share Jesus with others. The last thing Dan says to his clients as they leave his office is, “God bless you.” That simple statement has opened the door for Dan to share his testimony and the power of the Gospel with many clients. “I’ve led many people to Christ sitting at my desk, looking right across the table where they are sitting and weeping because they’re in a place of hurt. I’m able to tell them that Jesus is their answer, not me. I’ll help them with their legal problem, but I can’t help them get into Heaven. I can just tell them about the One who can save their soul.”
“I believe the command Christ gave to ‘go and make disciples’ is a command to me. And so, if I’ve got a schedule that’s so full that I can’t do what Christ tells me to do, then my schedule is too busy. You’ve got to decide that telling people about Jesus and how He’s changed your life and how He can change theirs is more important than some other things in life. If you do that, you’ll get a blessing that surpasses anything else.”