An inopportune mess on the job afforded Greg an opportune conversation about his faith. This is Greg’s story of the gospel working in and through painting.
“Can I pray for you?”
A simple, but potent question. Greg Carson knows this well. This question has led to seeing some of the most tangible evidence of Christ in his life — one on which being in the painting, spilling of paint, cleaning, and repainting of a house.
If you know Greg, then you know that Greg is a painter. In fact, he has been in the business of painting for 23+ years. He’s a hard worker, very detail-oriented, and not afraid to get his hands dirty. The good news of the gospel has redefined these traits for Greg.
Greg was born and raised in a small town in Kansas. He was the second-oldest of 4 boys, in a house steeped in Lutheran tradition. “My mom was the strongest Christian in the family,” Greg says. Athletics played a major role in Greg and his brothers’ childhoods. They were enveloped in them. “We played any sport we could, whenever we could.”
Greg’s passion for sports filled up all that was lacking in terms of affection for the classroom, and the idea of sitting in more classrooms for hours after high school didn’t interest him at all. “I hated school,” Greg says. “I don’t like sitting in classrooms. I like working with my hands.” So, he did, and he did it well. From working on a farm to going door-to-door selling insurance, Greg was determined to live independently and would do whatever it took to support himself. He was also supporting an unhealthy party lifestyle as well, and the fruits of his labor never seemed to satisfy. The Lord used a financial breaking point and impeccable timing to move Greg to Phoenix, where he took a job working for his uncle’s painting business.
Greg is still painting. Over the course of a few years after the move, Greg met and married his wife, Kathy, partnered with his uncle in starting a new painting business, and became a follower of Christ. Shortly after, Greg’s older brother began to follow Christ and was involved in church ministry. It was in Greg’s brother sharing his testimony at church that Greg began to think differently about things. “I walked out of church that day a different man,” Greg says.
“God calls us to be missionaries wherever we are.”
Greg began to look at all of life being all for Jesus, and this was evident in Greg as a husband, as a dad to his two children, and in his work of painting.
One big occurrence happened to Greg several years ago while he was painting a woman’s house. This customer was extremely particular about the cleanliness of her house, emphasizing the spotlessness of her carpet to Greg. Greg ended up spilling a bucket of paint in her living room, leaving it spotless no more. And to make things worse, another bucket was spilled in the master bathroom a couple hours later. But what seemed a total and complete disaster would later lead to something beautiful.
Greg was insistent to pay for professional cleaning services, as well as repairs on all the damages. This act of integrity stood out to the customer, unbeknownst to Greg. She began to refer the business of her friends to Greg. Interestingly, Greg and this woman’s paths crossed again some ten years later. Greg received a phone call from the woman asking if he could touch up some of the walls in her house. He was later informed that her husband had just taken his own life, and she and their kids were not doing well at all. Greg did what he knew to do: finish the job in an excellent manner. As he was leaving the property, Greg felt the Lord prompting him to ask a simple question to this woman — this woman who he could have easily not been a repeat customer due to his spills — “Ma’am, can I pray for you?”
She accepted his request, and Greg left without thinking much about it beyond knowing the Lord prompted him to pray with her. However, it turned out that they both had a mutual friend, who told Greg a few years later that this woman shared her testimony with her, and said, “I had never really taken God seriously until the day a painter who did some work on my house prayed for me and my two kids at the end of my driveway.”
“I haven’t historically wanted to inconvenience people with a question like that, but the Holy Spirit is so clear to us when we’re listening, and it’s such a simple question.”
Greg often wondered if he needed to be a pastor, or to go into formal ministry — “something important,” he thought. But it’s now evident to Greg that his painting is a ministry. Any job can when a believer in Jesus fulfills a role with God’s kingdom in mind, seeing customers as humans with souls.
Seeing spills as opportunities.