Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm nothing like a pyramid scheme salesman

The most confronting paragraphs of Just Walk Across the Room, bar none, says this,

A man once told me he never shares his faith with anyone.”.... “His answer shocked me. ‘I would never want to inflict the burden of God on anyone,’ he said.

‘Wow, that is not at all the God I know’, I thought. ..

He also says, “I honestly believe that every wayward person I know would live a vastly better life if God’s love, grace, and redemption were operating in their lives.... DO YOU BELIEVE THIS TOO?”(p27)

I stopped reading right there. Do I believe this? Of course I believe this for my life. But do I believe this for others? If I do, then why don’t I feel comfortable sharing it with others? Why do I hold back?

Bill encourages us to ‘rewind our faith journey a little to the pre-christian days’ – and reflect on what that was like. However, for me, I accepted Christ into my life at 5.. So I don’t know a life apart from Christ that I can remember.

It’s difficult to share a testimony of ‘before and after’ when I can’t remember the ‘before’. It’s hard to describe the change they’ll experience, when my changes have always been post-Christ.

Then I thought about the people that are in my sphere of influence.. successful people who seemingly have life under control, are financially stable, happily married and life is good.

Do I believe that these people would be vastly better off in this life (leaving the next life for the moment) if they handed control of their lives over to God - the answer is Yes!

Do I believe I have the skills to convince them of that – the answer is No! That is probably the honest reason why I have held back from going into the ‘zone of the unknown’.

I believed that I would look and sound like a pyramid scheme salesman (eg amway or sandenbrook) - the type of ‘friendship marketing’ most people have experienced when a friend asks you for coffee, and you realise they just want to sign you up for the life-changing, money making, freedom giving network sales scheme. .. which can bring friendships to end, or make them very awkward from that point onwards.

However, then I read a paragraph that gave me a new perspective to my dilemma:

Dr B (professor at Trinity College) said, ‘throughout the course of your life, you’re going to give your life to something. You will. All people do. They give their lives to pleasure or to possessions, to the attainment of popularity or to the acquisition of more power. But always to something”(p28)

I realised that no matter how successful, my friends were giving their life to something that would never satisfy them and would always leave them feeling wanting. I realised that, while they looked like life was good, I could never know the condition of their heart, the questions that remained unanswered, the deep desires that were never filled and the fact that they weren’t sure how to fill them.. but God knows. He knows where they’re at. That’s why I have to be obedient to His promptings – when and where He prompts me.

My part in this is to listen to Jesus when He says “Live as though you actually believe that your parent, your co-worker, and your neighbour would be better off if they knew my Father – if they were on the receiving end of his counsel, his wisdom and his guidance” (p29)

I always believed it, but I don’t think I lived it.

Living this way means I look at the people around me differently.

I start wondering whether they’re lonely, wondering whether they’re unfilled, wondering if they’re searching for something more... and living as though I actually believe that they would be better off knowing Christ.

I no longer assume they don’t want to talk about it - because I’m nothing like a pyramid scheme salesman .

Changing my perspective towards seemingly happy people is my first right step in being unleashed to just walk across the room.

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