I pray the day is finding you well.
I came home after a great day of ministry.
It was around 6:30pm, there was a note on the counter that said, “I am at the store getting groceries, Love Laurie.” I was just settling in when the phone rang, I walk across the kitchen and answer it.
I say, Hello.”
The voice on the other end says, “Hello, Mr. Butler.” (Right then and there I knew it was a telemarketer. He did even get my name right.)
You ask, “Why did you answer the phone?” I answered the phone because I thought it was someone I wanted to talk to; why else would I answer the phone?
Without taking a breath Mike says, “My name is Mike from AT&T, is this a good time?”
I say, “No.” (Even though it was not a particularly bad time.)
Mike doesn’t skip a beat and asks, “Do you have a moment?”
I respond, “No, no I do not have a moment.” (Even though I had nothing else going on.)
Mike starts in again. I cut him off.
I told him that I did not want his services and that I was upset that he bothered me and I hung up on him.
Now I am fuming, my great day was ruined by Mike the telemarketer.
I fumed for a few minutes when a still small voice said, “You know Mike was just doing his job. A job that he most likely does not enjoy very much, but he was doing it just the same. It was you who was not doing your job.”
Now I am really mad.
Here I had a great day in ministry, I came home to a phone call that I did not want, and I am the one that God is correcting.
The funny thing about a relationship with God is that you have to listen to His words just as you expect Him to listen to your words.
After a bit, I said, “Ok, the next time a telemarketer calls I will be nice. In fact, I will say the following, “I am so glad you called. I promise that I will listen intently to whatever it is you have to say. I may even buy whatever it is you have to sell, if you first allow me to pray with you and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
The little small voice said, “Perfect.” (I am thinking to myself, “Great idea Roger, you accomplished two things; first, this is sure to get the telemarketers to hang up and since I have their names, because they always introduce themselves immediately, I can still pray for them. Two, I got God off my back on this topic.)
A few days later, I come home and the phone is ringing. I answer the phone.
It is Betty from AT&T.
Betty says, “Hello mister Butler, (I wish whoever sold my information had not misspelled my name.) I am Betty from AT&T.”
I interrupt her and say, “I am so glad you called. I promise that I will listen intently to whatever it is you have to say. I may even buy whatever it is you have to sell, if you first allow me to pray with you and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Betty is silent for a moment and then says, “Ok.”
I did not expect this!
I start praying for Betty.
I share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
After twenty minutes, we go through the prayer of forgiveness and she accepts Jesus into her heart.
We are now laughing and having a really good time. She asks if she can call me back in a few days. I said, “Yes. Oh, you still need to tell me your services. I need to hold up my end of the bargain.”
Betty says, “That’s ok, I don’t want to talk to you about that.”
Now I am jumping through the roof, Laurie is wondering what happened to me.
A few days go by and another call.
Todd from AT&T calls and says, “Hello mister Butler, I am Todd from AT&T.”
I interrupt him and say, “I am so glad you called. I promise that I will listen intently to whatever it is you have to say. I may even buy whatever it is you have to sell, if you first allow me to pray with you and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Todd says, “Ok.”
The same result.
Now I cannot wait to get home and talk to the telemarketers.
This goes on for a few weeks.
Then it happens.
The phone rings.
I run to the phone.
I answer and say, “Hello.”
It goes like this.
“Hello Mr. Button My name is Marsha from AT&T.” (Now I know that I have some sort of trainer on the line. The voice on the other end is stern and has a leadership quality to it. It also sounds like she is talking on speakerphone. I instantly get a mental picture of Marsha at a conference table with all these telemarketers sitting there and she is going to show them how to handle people like me.)
I start my shpeal.
Marsha interrupts me and says, “Mr. Button do you realize that my people only have 2-minutes per phone call?”
I respond, “I did not know that Marsha, but now that I do, I can work with that.”
Marsha says, “I don’t think you understand. My people have a job to do.”
I respond, “I understand that your people have a job to do. You see Marsha, I am a pastor, and I have a job to do as well. In the end, you did call my house. Now do we have a deal?”
Marsha says, “No” and hangs up.
I prayed for Marsha after she hung up.
A funny thing happened.
I did not have to get angry.
I did not have to put me name on the “No-Call” list.
They took me off their list.
The only problem was that I no longer wanted to be off their list. I started filling out those cards in the magazines that end up with a call from a telemarketer.
The phone would start ringing again.
After a few weeks they would figure out they were calling me again and the phone would go silent.
God knew what He was doing.
A funny thing happens when you stop seeing things as interruptions and start seeing them as opportunities to share Jesus with people.
Being a Christ follower is not a 9-5 job, nor is it a Sunday only thing. Sharing the Good News isn’t reserved for missionaries and pastors.
We all have stories to tell.
Tell your story. Someone needs to hear it.
Post log; These events happened many years ago before everyone had cell phones and many did not have answering machines. Names have been changed. I was at lunch the other day with friends, I told them this story and they asked me to share it. This is for you Jett and Lorretta.