Short Analogy #1
Last week, I had the opportunity to go out of town to visit a few very near and dear friends. I had a wonderful time. But the issue was this: I take blood pressure medicine. And without getting too graphic, it dehydrates me in the morning. It is a diuretic. So not only do I drink a lot liquid in the morning, I also get rid of a lot!
Pastor Harvey, why in the world are you letting us know this?
You see, about 90 minutes into the journey, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I just HAD to stop. So I pulled into a Winn Dixie and was met by a nice fellow who greeted me as soon as I walked into the door. I said, “Sir, where is your bathroom?” And he directed me.
On the way out a short time later, the same gentleman was at the door. And I said, “I’ll buy something next time.” He said, “That’s ok. Have a nice day!”
Short Analogy #2
Before we had children, I was a different person. I like to think that I have calmed down and am in much more control of myself than I was 10 years ago. I really had an anger issue at times. Sometimes I directed it at those I loved; at other times it was directed in their defense.
Sarah came home from a trip with a sister-in-law very late and very bothered. I knew something was up. After prodding the information out of her, I arrived at the fact that she had been mistreated by an employee of a local club-warehouse-sales place. Even though we had an account that was current, the employee’s computer wasn’t showing it, so she heavily insinuated that Sarah was a liar, cheater, etc.
So I did what any reasonable person would do. I chopped up my membership card into 4 equal pieces. I mailed the 4 pieces to the local store, the regional office, the national office, and the better business bureau, explaining precisely what I thought of their company and why I would never set foot there again.
A reasonable reaction, yes?
What do these 2 analogies have in common?
We all represent something. The guy in Winn Dixie made me want to go back to Winn Dixie. The girl at that big store caused me to not step foot in there for many years (and I still only rarely frequent the place).
When we go into a store, a minimum wage employee often has the same power as the international president of that company. They represent that store. They are wearing the uniform and a nametag. They have been trained and authorized to represent that store or that company to us. And we as consumers often form a more positive or negative perception of that store based on even the part-time, minimum wage employee.
That employee could think, “I only work here 20 hours a week and barely make minimum wage. I could care less what this company looks like 10 years from now.”
Regardless, as you saw examples of in my analogies, the employees of corporations have that representative power to their consumers. Whether the employees think it is fair or not. Whether the consumer is fair in arriving at that opinion or not. You, Mr. Retired-senior-standing-at-the-front-door-greeter, have a huge amount of influence on whether I continue returning to your store, or stop doing so.
Did you know that it is the same way in our spiritual walk? People know if we are Christian or not. They usually know if we go to church or not. Hopefully, they can put 2 and 2 together by looking at our conduct, speech, and priorities.
And whether we like it or not, we are representing our entire company – that is the church, as well as our CEO – that is, Jesus Christ! We may think we are the lowliest of the low – just a minimum wage door greeter, but our influence over this world and their receptiveness of Christians is huge! And therefore, “poor customer service” simply isn’t an option.
We have to represent Jesus Christ accurately and continually. Because if we don’t, then the reputation of our Christian brothers and sisters, the church, and our Savior is harmed in the eyes of those who need us the most!
Maybe it’d be nice to live in a little box, unnoticed and unobserved by the world. The introvert side of me would enjoy that at times. But today, I will be on display. It is as if I will have a balloon I am carrying around with me that says, “Christian Husband, Father, and Pastor.” People know who I am. They will watch me to see if what I do and say matches up.
They will watch you too. That’s why it IS important what you do. How you do it. What your attitude is. What your speech is. How you present yourself to others. How you act in traffic. In a line at the grocery store. At family reunions. With people who have disappointed you. In every single situation that you’ll face today, you face as much more than an employee – if you’re a believer, you face as one who represents your Savior.
I’ve had people try to convince me otherwise. That it doesn’t matter what they say or do. I’ve heard pastors who can swear with the best of them. I’ve seen people proclaim Christ, but live completely opposite of His teachings.
Don’t take who you are lightly. Seek to provide fantastic customer service today! Remember your actions affect how others see your Christian brothers and sisters, your church, and your God. If people know a Christian is supposed to be one thing, but see us being entirely the opposite, they will have reason to call us hypocritical. Give people a reason to want to know God, not a reason to reject Him more.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.