by DanWolgemuth on January 3, 2012

A thick cloud of cigar smoke filled the air as I made my way to a room at the back of the building. I was there for a haircut. “Clips on Sixth,” and specifically Tony, have been recognized as a barber of exceptional skill by several local publications.

Tony rents space in a property that includes a cigar bar, which is clearly as well known as Tony.

I settled into a notably old-fashioned barber chair and Tony started to do his thing. We immediately settled into a conversational rhythm that included a process of discovery that highlighted a journey down two very different pathways.

Tony and I are separated by only two years; but that, along with our affinity to the Denver Broncos, were clearly the only areas of similarity. Tony grew up in Long Island; his mother died when he was two years old; he’s never been married and has no children.

He asked corresponding questions of me, which gave me the opportunity to talk about career, family and faith.

The more we talked and the more I realized just how different we were, the more I sensed a compassion in my soul for Tony. I didn’t want Tony to have the life that I had; no, I wanted Tony to have the Savior that I have. I wanted Tony to meet Jesus. I wanted Tony to be drawn to Christ through me. Not in one haircut, but in an authentic, relationship building way.

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. ~ Luke 15:20 (ESV)

In a smoke-filled building, on a snowy December afternoon, I embraced my call; my stewardship; my privilege to proclaim the Good News; to be an evangelist to Tony.

Not only did I embrace my calling, I invited 2012 to be a revolution in my soul; I want 2012 to be the year of Tony, a year of deeper compassion and passion for the least and the lost and those that are still a long way off.

Tony is not my 2012 project; he’s a 54-year-old Italian American who very adeptly cuts hair and shaves faces for a living. He’s a wanderer, a hungry soul. Tony is a man that would never have made his way into my office; he would likely have never sat in a church pew in front of me; but Tony is a part of my life now and he serves as a vivid example to me of all those in my life that need me to see them; even while they are still a long way off; even while the thick cigar smoke surrounds us; even while the name of Jesus is not yet a glorious name.

For Tony. For the sake of the call.

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