Hello friends at Immanuel. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Phil. I grew up in Peoria, IL, where most of my family still lives. I currently live in the South Loop area near Chinatown. I am married with no kids…yet. My wife Tracy is a nanny in the city’s near north side. She is the most awesome wife in the world. This has been made continually clear to me because of my vocation. As I write I am feeling the effects of my job, a normally tired always 3rd shift doorman at 1100 N. Lakeshore Dr. My dear wife with great patience and a calm gentle demeanor not only puts up with my frequent bewildering and just plain mean cantankerousness, but also serves me continually in spite of it. Irritability is on occasion my disposition, but working the graveyard makes me even more annoying to be around. I long to have at least half the patience Tracy has. She is truly an amazing woman to be able to serve and put up with a real pinhead like me.

1100 N. Lakeshore Drive is a condominium tower 40 stories high. There are not too many people that live in the building. Each floor has only 3 units and many of the people own more than one. My basic duties can be described as 40% security and 60% customer/unit owner service. When people (unit owners) are around I try to be as friendly to them as possible and I, being a doorman, open the door for them so they can walk right on through it. The other part of my job is to be suspicious of anybody that comes to the door that I know does not live there. Any strange activity is when I go from being a doormat to doorman.

My shift is from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM, so the majority of the time I am at work there is not a whole lot going on. For this reason I spend my shift having my devotions, reading, listening to music, and playing video games on my PSP. I have been working this shift about 3 or 4 months and have been working at this building as relief doorman since last spring. Working here has been a very eye opening experience for me. The people that live in this building are incredibly rich but so lost. Just by frequent 30 second interactions one can quickly see how deeply in need of Jesus these people are. For so many of them their lives are consumed by work, making money, and living the lavish big city lifestyle. There is one person who lives here that I see occasionally at night and sometimes early morning. She will sometimes come in around 12:00 AM then call down a little later telling me that she wants a wake up call at like 4:00 AM because she has an early flight to catch for business. She goes on to tell me that she wants the wake up call because she will be working until 3:00 AM and will only get an hour of sleep. I have found that at 1100 workaholism is as much of an addiction as alcoholism.

One night there was someone who came in around 1:00 AM and was so drunk that the cab driver brought this person to the door. Once this person got inside they could not even make it up to their unit on their own so I had to go up with them, open the door with my key, and make sure this person was safely seated before I left. There is another guy who for a while would come in drunk almost every single night. He would even be driving. Among all this tragic idolatry there is one couple who seem to be Christians. They are a doctor and journalist who recently returned from Africa doing medical missions.

In reflecting on all of this, a passage from the book of 1Peter comes to mind:

Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (1Pe. 1:18-21).

Peter is talking directly to the Messianic Jews of the Diaspora here (1Pet 1:1), however Peter’s depiction of the blood of Christ and the hope that believers have in God is truth that so many at 1100 need to be struck by. Many of the people in this building have an obsession with getting as much money as they can and getting as much stuff as they can. The knowledge and faith that they lack is that Jesus is so much more satisfying than success and money. Success and money are both deceptively unsatisfying. Peter uses the word ‘precious’ to describe Christ’s blood that is normally the word we use to describe silver and gold, and he says that silver and gold is ‘perishable’. My longing and prayer is that they will see that the precious blood of Christ will result in their faith and hope being only in God (v. 21), and that the perishable things of this world will fade away.

I am not able to share my faith with unit owners out right but if I can develop enough of a relationship with them I might be able to share with them outside of work hours, unless they ask me about it while I am working. The other side of this job that is perhaps a bit more missional in nature is that I am not the only one working in the building overnight. There is also a garage attendant. He pulls cars around for people when they want to leave. So I have more opportunities to build a relationship with him if he doesn’t sleep or watch TV the whole time.

When I was asked to do this I thought – “Is my vocation really vignetteable?” But even perhaps the most boring vocation, in the church has some eternal implications. Thanks for allowing me to share about being a doorman at 1100 North Lake Shore Drive.