Persistent Widow and Friend

There is the story in the Bible about a persistent friend who stands outside his neighbours house a pleads for food. I think the moral of the story, is to be persistent with God. To keep praying, to keep asking Him for goodness etc etc.

But I wonder if there is a place for being persistent with our friends, neighbours and family about the good news of the Gospel.

Yes, I know at one point Jesus tells his disciples that if people don’t accept their message, they should ‘shake the dust from their sandals and move on’.

But, is there also a time and a place for being persistent? To continue offering past the initial objection?

I heard a priniciple recently from the controversial Jordan Peterson, who explained that most people only have a handful of objections to ideas. If you can get past those, most people will “give in”.

One website backs this up: 80% of non-routine sales occur only after at least 5 follow ups. But despite this statistic, 44% of salespeople give up on a prospect after hearing ‘no’ just once. After 4 objections, 92% of salespeople have fallen by the wayside. By combining these numbers it can be reasoned that the 8% of salespeople who continue to follow up after hearing ‘no’ 4 times will be rewarded with 80% of non-routine sales, which only occur after 5 follow-ups.

I know our job isn’t impersonal salesmanship. And that our friends and family are not customers. But, don’t we have something more valuable than new hoovers, beauty products and subscription package? Is it not worth sticking around past the sub-standard knee-jerk reactions & “4x objections”, and see what happens beyond this.

This won’t be the case for every friendship, conversation and relationship. However, the ones we have with people we care about can probably handle a bit of loving-persistence.

Whatever you do…

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Have been reading through 1 Corinthians this week and one of the things that stood out to me was these verses in Chapter 10. It’s connected to chapter 9 and 7 and displays a lot of Paul’s attitude towards his work. I was challenged in my attitude towards work.

One of my dreams is to preach the gospel, like Spurgeon, many times throughout the week. I love to encourage people with God’s word and in their walk with Jesus. And if that was my full time job, I’d do it out of hours and wouldn’t worry about working ‘unpaid’ overtime.

So why don’t I consider my work with Cancer Research in such a way? Am I not supposed to be doing that work as unto the Lord? Am I not supposed to be seeking God’s glory in whatever position God calls me to? Married or single, slave/servant or freeman, employed or self-employed?

And so, I have been praying about what does it look like to carry out my life as it stands – today – as unto the Lord. And my thoughts:

  • Going the extra mile
  • Working overtime
  • Honouring my employer when their watching and when their not

In a sense, I want to steward the job I have now well in my early 20s as how I would if I was working full time for a church. I want to work as diligently as an employee for Cancer Research as if I was a missionary for Reach Across.

My aim isn’t to switch job, change my circumstances, but to glorify God.

1 Corinthians 7:

17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

I get Israel’s Commission

Part of my preparation for my new job working with the Navigators this year has been to complete a lengthy study on what it means to be “Laborers” for God’s Kingdom. Through this study and a few other things in my life that God is seeming to be working all together (the books I’m reading, discussions I’m having etc) one thing keeps coming up over and over again.

In Genesis 12:1-3 God calls Abraham (Abram at the time) and blesses him. Furthermore God says to Abram that the whole world, loads of different nations, are going to be blessed through him.

Now I already knew that because of Jesus we get Abraham’s blessing, we get a great relationship with God and receive every Spiritual blessing etc…But what I’m learning is that we also receive his commission! We are called to bless the world and all the nations within it.

Now I know the term “bless” is a bit vague, and “all the world” is quite a vast term. But I think that this is what God wants me thinking about is how am I to be a blessing to the world around me.

Because I like bullet points here are a few of my thoughts on it all so far

  • I want to be asking “how have/am/will I serve people”?
  • Playing an active role in looking after the planet (even though I’m not naturally inclined towards this, I reckon because I’m selfish and don’t see how it will affect me), I believe that this is a way that I can be a blessing to God’s creation.
  • God blesses the world through me, I need to remember that it’s God’s blessing, brought and wrought for by Him, and I am a channel. This stops pride, and weakens my legalistic tendency to do it all in my strength.
  • Realizing that the biggest blessing I can give the world is to introduce them to eternal life. Jesus said “this is eternal life, that they know You [Adonai] and the One You sent”. – John 17.3

God please show me what it means even more to be a blessing to the whole world, please help me to actually act on this commission and not just excited by another really cool Bible link that you’re teaching me about. I pray that the people who interact with me, or even just who sit next to me on the bus would be blessed by You, simply because I am carrying Abraham’s commission. Amen