Devotions, Workforce

I Was Listening

Read: Philippians 1:12-20

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV


My attempts to sign people up for the garden club did not always meet with an enthusiastic yes, despite the program’s many benefits and free price tag.  For every agreeable customer, I met a handful set upon simply ignoring the offer and a scattered few who were downright offensive about it.

It was for this reason that I felt rather hesitant when a lady stepped up to my table with the words, “This is the second time you’ve told me about this.  I was here last weekend too.”

I smiled, feeling rather sheepish for not recognizing her (not that I should have been able to given the number of people who passed the table each day) and was about to apologize when she stopped me.

 “I think I’ll sign up this time.  It sounds useful.”

Astonished, I grinned and handed her the enrollment form.

She had begun to fill in her contact information when another customer walked over from the check stand, receipt in hand.  “I’ve listened to you talk about this over and over while I was waiting in line.  It sounds like a good deal and I’d like to sign up, too.”

Of course later, I couldn’t help considering the similarities between these women’s reaction to the garden club and the way some people respond to the Gospel message.  While it would be nice if everyone we met immediately responded to God’s offer, statistics tell us that most people who accept Christ do so only after receiving a steady witness from another believer.  As with the garden club, sometimes someone needs to hear the message just one more time before it makes sense to them.

God has promised that His Word will never return void … and it’s a promise that can be trusted.  We may not always see immediate results, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep sharing!

Challenge:  Are you feeling discouraged about your evangelism efforts?  Don’t!  Sometimes people just need to hear the message a few times before it sinks in.  This week, take some time to talk to other believers in your community.  Ask them how they came to faith in Christ.  You may be surprised at how many of their stories sound like my customers’ tales!

Devotions, Retail Ready

You Can’t Even Give It Away!

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Read: Matthew 28:18-20

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

Some people seem to be sent into our lives simply to test us and, on this particular afternoon, I found just such a person standing nearby as I worked to sign people up for our store’s discount card.

After listening to several customers tell me that they weren’t interested, he turned around and declared quite adamantly, “You can’t even give those away!”

I smiled and said that I was giving them away to which he responded with a piteous smile.

After I had been told “no” several more times, he turned and said something to the effect of, “Guess they don’t know what a great deal they’re missing.” (At this point, I could feel myself growing irritated at his mockery.)

No, no, no, no… “So how many hours do you have to do this?” he asked with a delighted grin.

Resisting the urge to let him have it, I relaxed in my seat and continued my work. The truth was, despite his derision, I was ten memberships short of averaging one for every three minutes of the entire six hour period in which I had been working! The results of my efforts had been nothing short of phenomenal and the choice was now mine – to focus on the negative and give up or to see the success which had been achieved and finish the task.

As believers in Christ, we often face very similar situations and it can be difficult to keep our focus, particularly when people are making fun of us or deriding what we believe. And that’s why the Bible tells us to keep our eyes on Christ. Only by making Jesus the center of our lives at all times will we be able to stay on the path He has prepared for us and accomplish the task which He has given us – that of sharing the Gospel with sinners like ourselves!

Challenge: This week, commit to keep your focus on Christ and finish the task!