A few years ago I noticed that my tires appeared low in air so I made a point of stopping at a gas station to pump some life into them. Admittedly, I was struggling just a tich with the hose and making it reach around to the far side of the car. I mean, really who doesn’t have to wrestle to get the job done? In the middle of my tug-of-war with the hose, a friendly olderish man approached (at an appropriate distance) and asked if I could use a hand. Well, why yes I could. So he proceeded to get the rest of the tires filled up to proper inflation and we had a very friendly lively chat about the weather, tires and car ownership. It was one of those human interaction gems that we sometimes encounter in life. We laughed and chatted for just a few minutes and I was so pleased to have had a complete stranger be a gentleman. For a second my faith in humanity was slightly elevated.
I gave him a sincere thanks and began to turn to leave when he says “you know, I would just love to have an extra minute to share with you about this wonderful ‘business opportunity’ that I have been so blessed by!” Oh man. Bummer. It felt like he had actually been just priming me by helping out with the tires to get an open door to share his “business opportunity.” Ugh! I really thought he was just being nice but noooo, he had to have an agenda. So I turned back around (not as friendly this time) and listened for what was a painstaking long time about some such product that would help me make money even while I wasn’t working but had other people under me who were working. Yawn. Ok, are we done with the spiel? I left that interaction more unhappy with humanity than before I stopped to fix the tires. Why?! Why could he have not just been a nice guy helping a lady out? Why did the sales pitch have to be included?
I don’t know about you but I find many Christians to be exactly the same way. Always on the prowl, waiting for the right moment to spring it on someone; the Good News of Jesus. Jesus isn’t a product to be sold. Christianity should not resemble a multi-level marketing plan where the goal is for two people to find two people who find two more to “win souls for Christ.” Instead, Christianity should be about seeing a supernatural God in the real world.
Now before I get emails quoting Scripture about the Great Commission, I know what it says because I’ve read it too. Go and make disciples See? I got it. But I believe the how we go is the important piece. I personally don’t think that most evangelism “techniques” work better than good old friendship. Spending time with people, doing life together through it’s ups and downs and casually talking about our lives and what gives us hope and peace. People figure out quickly whether we are Christians or not and they know where we are if they want to ask questions or want to come with us to a church service. I think far too many people are trying really hard to do the work that God and the Holy Spirit are doing in speaking to folks. Humans often just get in the way. Let’s be mindful that people really do want authentic friendliness without a sales pitch once we perceive defenses to be down.
Oh and no emails are needed explaining the benefits that some have received through their opportunity with a multi-level marketing entrepreneurship. I know it works for some folks.
Happy Easter everyone and make sure you’re not that goofy Christian out there trying to turn Jesus into Amway.
Seven years ago I moved from the west coast to the south. There are numerous adjustments when making a move that includes such a radical cultural shift. Most of the differences between the west and the south have appealed to me and I am happily integrating into the southern culture. While on the phone the other day, I said ya’ll and even after it was pointed out to me, I still didn’t believe I said it. I wasn’t trying to say it! It just happened in the middle of the flow of the conversation. That’s when you know you’ve acclimated to being a southern woman.
One of the first things I noticed about my adopted region was the housing. The homes in the Dallas/Ft. Worth suburbs are typically bigger, more beautiful and shockingly less expensive than in the San Francisco Bay Area. The manner in which homes are decorated is very different too. Time, energy, thought and money go into many of homes in the burbs of Dallas/Ft. Worth. Some homes look like museums and that absolutely no children or pets have ever resided there; even though they do. It’s a magic trick to keep those appearances up!
When I first moved here, I actually enjoyed focusing more on the decorating aspects of Texas life. But…as is true with many things, there is an underbelly. An underbelly to decorating? Yes. It’s called female competition. Lots of suburban ladies (women, chicks, girls, gals – whatever word you would like to use is fine) enjoy decorating their homes and don’t really have an opinion about how YOU or I decorate our homes; they simply like our company. However, there is a strain of ladies who come to our homes and while giving us a hug, their eyes are scanning our baseboards for dust or a perceived mismatch of color choices. Yes, we all know these ladies and yes, they really are judging our homes.
So, here’s my solution: I don’t invite these types over twice. Pretty simple. I have zero tolerance for competition among friendships. Life is hard, short and full of twist and turns. We need our girlfriends to be safe harbors of sisterhood, not cattiness. I promise that if I come to your house, I won’t be looking for dust bunnies; I will be thankful for the invite and enjoying your company. I ask that you do the same when at my house too; otherwise, you might not be invited back. Seriously.