You’re a What?

by | May 22, 2005 | Holy Spirit, Witnessing

We are just sitting down for supper when the phone starts ringing. Who could be calling us at this time of the day? With mouth-watering anticipation put on hold, I pick up the annoying instrument.

Before I can even say “hello”, however, an unknown voice on the other end says: “Is this Mr. Chaffart?”

Another telemarketer! “I think you have the wrong number,” I respond as I hang up.

A minute later the phone rings again. I pick it up again, and the same annoying voice repeats its former question: “Is this Mr. Chaffart?”

“No,” I reply, “this is his son.”

“Can I speak to your dad, lad?”

I like it when someone calls me a lad. It makes me feel better than the term “dinosaur” that my students tend to choose when referring to me. My tone a bit lighter, I respond with: “I don’t think so. He was buried twelve years ago.” Satisfied, I hang up the phone.

Sound familiar? Have you noticed that everyone you talk to seems to have one thing in common? We all PASSIONATELY “LOVE” those WONDERFUL phone calls, encouraging us to do things we don’t want to do, to buy things we don’t want or need!

If you are a telemarketer, don’t feel bad. I know it’s your job and you don’t have any choice in the matter. In fact, I admire your tenacity. You persist despite the fact that you aren’t exactly welcomed with “open arms”! Besides, you are still loved by God, our Father! But it must seem to you that we have all been trained since we were in diapers to say “no” to such phone calls!

Of course, our methods of saying “no” can be quite creative sometimes . . .

“I am not interested.” Click

“Honey, it is for you…” And the phone gets put down, never to be picked up again . . .

“A moment please”, then the recipient uses his loud whistle on the phone or scratches his nails over a chalkboard.

“You have reached this number in error. Please verify your number and try again. If no one answers, please don’t call back,”

“I am so glad that you called me. I would like to introduce you to a product that is indispensable to telemarketers…” “But, but… I am the one who is trying to sell you something…” “You won’t be able to live without it.” “But, But…” “It doesn’t cost much. Six installments of a meager $69.99 each. A bargain!…” Click. Dial tone. The telemarketer has hung up on you.

I noticed that many believers use similar methods as telemarketers in sharing Jesus. They take to heart Christ’s commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19 NIV), however they present Jesus as a business proposal: “Come with me to church. You won’t regret your decision…” or “You need to accept Jesus in your life. This is why you are in such a mess!”

Although all of these proposals are true, they are generally not well accepted by outsiders. Is it possible that we are seen as another brand of telemarketers? I mean, shouldn’t there be a need before proposing a solution?

Are we trying to sell Jesus? But…Jesus is not for sale! “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matt 10:8 NIV) Our intentions may be good, but if we are lacking in compassion, then it becomes nothing more than “selling” Jesus.

“But I am doing this because I love them!” You argue.

And your actions may BE motivated by love. But are they perceived as loving actions? Or as propaganda? Mark 1:41says that “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out…” Compassion should always be the main ingredient when witnessing.

The second ingredient should be total dependence upon the Holy Spirit: “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13 NIV)

I have discovered this simple truth: When I try to talk about Jesus independent of God’s Spirit, I always make a big mess. Instead of attracting people to Jesus, I seem to have the opposite effect. However, whenever I depend upon God’s Spirit for guidance, and when I share my personal experiences with God, people do listen. And I’ve also noticed that if some humor is integrated in the conversation, people’s faces even light up.

Jesus is real and He lives in me. Do others see Him in my words and actions?

“Hello. Can I speak with you for a minute that in reality will take half-an-hour? Do you have time now?”

Rob Chaffart


You’re a What?