This week I learned an important lesson – I am not a salesman. In my second attempt to start a business selling health insurance supplements, all I earned was a bruised ego and a new-found respect for those who can do sales and do it well. I do not have those special gifts.
As I was preparing for my new career, I was told by several people, “You will do great” at sales because, “You have been selling your whole life.” I received this encouragement because I have been a pastor for almost thirty years. The implication was that I used to “sell Jesus.”
There are many pastors who do well in sales because they are type-A extroverts who love to talk. Those blessed with those characteristics often do well in both professions. I am none of those things. I just love people and love to share the truth about Jesus Christ.
I am deeply troubled at this idea that we are to “sell Jesus.” In sales, you are taught to not take “no” for an answer. You are to be forceful enough to get the initial appointment and then close the sale. Some sales professionals are selling a product many people need. Others are selling something no one really needs. All are taught to convince the buyer that THEY need what is being sold. The prime motivation for the salesman is not just the satisfaction in giving someone something that will benefit them, but the fat commission that the salesman will receive.
Jesus IS something (rather, SOMEONE) that everyone needs! Yet, do we in the evangelical church use manipulative techniques to try to convince the unconvinced? Do we do so not to glorify the God who made us all, but to somehow gain something for our own glory? Do we treat Jesus simply as a commodity that will benefit the buyer? Do we stress so much the benefits to the consumer that we forget to call those who follow Jesus to “count the cost?”
We don’t sell Jesus! We present Him as the pearl of great price that is worth our everything, because He is worthy. May we all present Jesus to someone today.