I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. –1 Corinthians 3:6-7
I ran across this illustration and it made me chuckle. Perhaps you’ll find it funny and instructive as well.
There was a man who wanted a job in a men’s clothing store as a salesman. The owner didn’t want to give the guy a job because he didn’t think he would be right for it. Yet, the man came back day after day asking for a job.
One day, because of the man’s persistence, the owner decided that he could use a break and it was dinnertime — a time least likely for customers to come into the store. So, the owner told the man, “I’ll give you a job on one condition: you must sell this one suit that’s been hanging here on the rack for years. This suit is hideous. If you can sell this suit while I go out for dinner, I’ll give you a job for life because you’ll have to be a great salesman to sell it.”
The owner went out to dinner knowing that nothing would happen. When he arrived back at the store, the owner was shocked! Here stood the man — his clothes were torn, he had scratches on his face and his hands. He was bloody. His hair was all messed up. He looked like a wreck. The owner asked, “My goodness, what happened?” The man replied, “I sold the suit. I’ve sold it, so now I’ve got a job for life.” The owner asked, “What do you mean you sold the suit, it looks like the guy didn’t like it?” And the man responded, “No, no the guy loved it. But, his guide dog nearly killed me.”
Sometimes as believers, we get so anxious for others to know and embrace the saving knowledge of Jesus, that in our conversations with them we become tempted to act like salesmen, trying to “close a deal” on a sale. Let’s remember that Jesus is not for sale. He is the Lord of life — and his message is good news — great news in fact — but our calling is to “plant and water,” not force sales. We are called to be faithful in sharing who Jesus is and what he has done — and specifically — what he has done in our lives.
Be willing to invite others to consider and to enter into this wonderful story of God’s work in people’s lives. But, don’t try to “force a sale” on someone not yet ready to respond. Remember, God has His own timing, and we can trust it to be perfect. In the meantime, keep doing the work of a gardener!
1. What attitudes or beliefs foster a temptation to “close the deal” when sharing Christ with someone?
2. Some people have just the opposite temptation — a reluctance to share Jesus with others. What attitudes or beliefs foster this temptation?
Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Colossians 4:2-6