Your Church +Portland




About a year ago I found it necessary to rejoin my ‘tent making profession’ and take on a secondary job. I was fortunate enough to receive my first phone interview a few days after applying and was accepted by a nearby call center, answering phones in the credit card department for one of our major banks. The pay seemed half decent and the job looked fairly easy. It went so good that ten days later I was telling my newfound employer and fellow trainees goodbye to happily enter another profession I knew I would be even better at! The extreme world of door to door sales. 

Having been the child of salespeople, winning trips as a newspaper boy for the most sales, selling vitamins door to door, selling clothing for a Canadian clothing chain, I knew sales was in my blood and I had enough confidence that I would be good at it. The truth is, I’ve always enjoyed something about the world of sales even when I was a kid. Hearing stories from my dad and mom about how many houses they sold, seeing their faces in the newspaper - I guess you could say it was burned into my DNA. So with this rich history of sales I was excited and ready to hit the streets for my new job, help out the church financially, achieve the sales quotas and maybe even make some serious money. To my shocking surprise, it wasn’t long into my first month that I discovered the most explosive revelation I had ever stumbled upon in my 48 years of existence…

I’m not that good at sales. 

Have you ever been there in life? You give something your all and regardless of how much ‘all’ you give, it just doesn’t seem to be enough. No matter how much I encouraged myself how great I was at sales, and no matter how much of Zig Ziglar I read, the reality was that I just wasn’t that great. For me, it took going back to a familiar story of the Apostle Paul to know how to handle situations where you simply cannot produce the desired results. 

 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
"8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities(weakness), that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I had overlooked the fact that the Lord’s grace was sufficient for me in my sales job. You see, the older you get, the more comfortable you get at what you’re good at. That results in a tendency to never put ourselves in situations (or jobs in my case) that we haven’t spent years perfecting. Let’s face it. We’re comfortable at what we’re good at. Yet if you’re going to live a life of faith, you’re going to be faced with countless weaknesses or better put, incomprehensible inabilities to produce results.

If you’re like me, hearing something like this makes you wince. Why the inabilities? Because if we’re going to do things God’s way we’re going to have to trust Him. For any Christian that sounds as basic as toast with jam. However, the fact is more times than not, along with trusting the Lord comes the uncomfortable. You no longer have all the answers. The fact is, you don’t have any answers followed with having absolutely no clue of how to get from where you are to where you need to be. Exciting isn’t it?! Try running a race with no clue of how to get from where you are to where you need to be. You’re headed for last place, if a place at all. Trusting the Lord automatically puts us in an uncontrollable position of weakness (hang in there) having no idea what it takes to produce the desired results. This makes what Jesus told Paul in the above verse such a huge thinking paradigm. What Paul discovered was that Jesus sees strength and weakness a lot differently than we do. Paul, like us, being so frustrated with his own shortcomings and tired of dealing with last place begged God to ‘fix’ it. Instead of Jesus fixing it, He helped Paul understand true strength.

A winner is not judged by his size, but by the Substitute he picks to run the race. The power of Christ is our ability to produce. This power, also known as His grace, rests upon us when we admit we cannot do it all. It comes when we brag about not knowing it all. His grace girds us up when we courageously admit we don’t have what it takes. For when we are uncontrollably weak, then are we incredibly strong. 

It means you quit working so hard (That has nothing to do with work ethic).
Then strength comes. 
Then favor finds you. 
Then sales begin. 
Then confidence builds.
Then grace enables you to do what you couldn’t do before. 

I wince every time I say the word, especially in connection with Jesus. Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that although the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God in His mercy, is still on the side of the Underdog!

And that’s the way I like it.
Pastor Shian

(excerpts taken from “Underdog” -Audio Adrenaline 1999)

Pastor ShianComment