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The Parable of the Sales Manager

Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?  (Luke 6:46)


Suppose  that you are the sales manager in a large company.  Your salesmen draw a salary which is sufficient to cover their basic needs, but not much more.  During good years, everyone gets a bonus; while during bad years, all must go without.  Some years are much better than others, but over the long term your salesmen make a quite decent living.

Now suppose that one of your salesmen gets to worrying about the future.  He knows there have been many bad years in the past, and he wonders what will happen in the future.  He thinks about his lifestyle; he worries about his children’s education and  his retirement. This salesmen gets a brainstorm, and thinks,  " Why not sell other products on the side?"   Together with his regular salary, this extra income could support a much better lifestyle, and provide much more security. So he begins to add other products and services to his portfolio. He will do anything, even mow the customer's lawn or paint his house, if the pay is good enough.  Soon these sidelights become his major focus.  His regular sales suffer drastically,  but he is not overly concerned because it doesn't hurt his income. Besides, he still gets his bonus.

If you were the sales manager, what would you do with an employee like that?  Suppose MOST of your employees were like that -- then what would you do?  I would be tempted to fire the lot of them and start again with a new bunch.

We Christians acknowledge  Jesus as Lord.  He is the boss, and we work for Him.  He has given us  a commission to "preach the Gospel", that is, to make His grace known and to share His love and blessing with those who lack.  If we obey His charge, the Scriptures guarantee that our basic needs will be met, and our families provided for.  However, His assurance is not enough for us.  We  acquire wealth to make ourselves comfortable and secure. We keep the bulk for ourselves, and give Him only the surplus (Luke 21:1-4). We make our comfort and security a higher priority than serving God. Serving God has become a spare-time sidelight.  We are too afraid  to put ourselves in a situation where we can effectively benefit and serve the poor and needy , because we feel that it's more important to protect ourselves and provide for our own future.   Is this not the situation of many, if not most,  "Christians" in America today?

We are just like the salesman in the story.  We treat the Lord as we would never dare treat our own bosses.  And we expect Him to let us get away with it!

Doubtless there are  many wealthy Christians in business whose work IS their mission.  Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick Fill-A, is just one example. His company mission statement is to "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on other people who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."  (A Doer of the Word, Focus on the Family magazine, September 2000, page 4).  But for a large number of us, even the majority, our work has nothing to do with our mission, and everything to do with our lifestyle.  Many of us are working at jobs that God never called us to, to make money to support a lifestyle that God never intended for us to have, and to provide a false security which substitutes for faith in God.  We have made our possessions our security.  God has blunt words for us – He says, “You fools” (Luke 12:16-21). We  have insulated ourselves from the troubles which afflict much of the world, but troubles shall still come upon us through our children.  For regardless of what we say about serving God, our lifestyles shown them where our priorities truly lie – and they will live accordingly.

Prayer:  Father, forgive me for seeking other things first.  From now on, I resolve to seek Your kingdom first.  May  Your kingdom's benefit determine where I work, where I live, what job I do, what hobbies I have, how I raise my children, how I spend my money, and how I live my life.  Work within my heart a deep, fundamental change of priorities, and inspire and empower me to make fundamental lifestyle changes in keeping with my new values.  I pray in the name of Jesus your Son, who left behind the glory and riches of heaven in order to taste suffering and death, that I might be saved from eternal damnation.

©1998 CrossPollen. CrossPollen articles may be copied without permission from the author AS LONG AS (1) the article content is not changed (2) the original copyright notice is included. If you have been stimulated or challenged by these articles, please consider making a financial contribution to CrossPollen."Do not muzzle the ox who threshes the grain... If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?"(1 Corinthians 9:9-11) Please contact us via e-mail. Thank you!

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Copyright © 2001 CrossPollen
Last Revised: March 20, 2001

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