Selling God

May 14th, 2007 • Category: Encounters with Jesus
by Tyler Connoley

Today’s scripture: Mark 1:40-45 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

For my day job, I own an international and gourmet grocery store in Silver City, New Mexico. I’m the person who staffs the store most regularly, so I’m the one who does most of the selling. Often, people ask me if it’s hard being a salesperson. But my answer is always the same: “No, because I don’t feel like a salesperson. I’m just sharing products I love with the residents of my community.” There are things in my store that I may like more than others, but as someone who loves gourmet and international food, it’s easy for me to sell customers on the things we carry in our store.

On the other hand, for one summer in college, I worked a job selling pools at a mall. I don’t swim, and I’ve never wanted a pool of my own. I didn’t really believe in the product I was pushing, so I hated that job as a salesperson. In fact, I didn’t sell a single pool all summer. And, if I remember correctly, I decided to quit before the company fired me.

When we think of evangelism — meaning, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others — we too often think it’s something like me selling pools. It’s people going door-to-door, trying to convince strangers that they have something worthwhile to offer. It’s hard, because the people doing the selling don’t really believe in what they’re offering.

However, I believe evangelism should be like the former leper in this story. When we have an experience with God that is too great not to share, we become natural salespeople for God. Even if Jesus, himself, were to order us not to spread the word, we wouldn’t be able to stop, because we’re bursting to tell everyone about the great experience we’ve had.

For this reason, I think our focus should be on having an authentic experience with God, and never on trying to share that experience. It’s like my grocery store: I spend my time stocking the store with products I really like, and then the selling is simply a natural outcome of sharing those wonderful things with others. If I spent my time trying to “evangelize” others about my store without first having a product I believed in, I’d be miserable and my evangelism would be strained.

Thought for the day: Have you had an experience with God that makes it impossible not to share? Seek first God’s kingdom, and let your evangelism naturally follow.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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