Posted by: religionthink | April 29, 2011

Used Car Salesmen For Christ: Thoughts On Witnessing

Used Car Salesmen For Christ: Thoughts On Witnessing

By A.D. Wayman 

Not that I am arrogant or a proud person but my intelligence was insulted the other day while I was on my lunch break. I am always up for a good discussion of religion, philosophy, and mythology. I sat by one nice guy while on break at work and started a generic conversation about the weather. Then he asked me “ If you died tonight do you know where you would go?”. Automatically I knew what I maybe in for. I perked up and prepared for an excellent conversation with a devout Christian Evangelical who felt compelled by his faith to share with me the “Good News”. But was that his real intent? I had to find out.

My answer was straight forward and direct. I told him, like a good Stoic, that such a conversation exploring such a question was of the highest importance, for death is never late and always on time, for at that moment when fate or the divine has ordained our earthly time is over. However, one would be selfish to prepare themselves for an afterlife of bliss in the land of the blessed, when at the moment they should be spending all their time in pursuit of virtue and righteousness, and using whatever means to help their fellow humans along in obtaining the same path, in the here and now, without the selfish desire of heaven. So I know not, nor care if such a place exists, for one should only concentrate on virtue. I then told him that if he knew some path that was easier then I will be most willing to hear it.

The gentlemen scratched his head taken rather off guard and took his sandwich out of his lunch pail that was labeled heavily with scripture verses of repentance from the New Testament. He proceeded to take me down the Roman Road. A place that I have so often been before. He had it all mapped out and talked fast, for we only had a thirty minuet break. He quoted Romans 3:23, then 6: 23 of the same text, then jumped to Romans 5:8, then to Romans 10:9 and 10 . Then he jumped to Revelation 3:20 and ended it all with John 3:16. He even put my name in the text to make it personal. I found it quite amazing that he knew the text by heart. “Very good!” I said. “But What did Jesus have to say about it?” He munched on his sandwich, “What do you mean?” he asked. “When the rich man asked Jesus What must I do to inherit eternal life? in Matthew 19:16 Jesus did not tell him all you told to me just now, did he?” “Jesus’s reply in Matthew 19:17 was, “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

We had to go back to work and never finished the conversation. The corporation applauds diversity and personal development, however, I had the feeling they would not like to pay us for large discussions on virtue, righteousness, and salvation philosophies. But ever since that conversation I have been thinking on the true motivations of witnessing and wondered if people thought about what they were feeling compelled to do and say by themselves or by their belief systems. Right down to the method of rhetoric, intimidation, and mental techniques that would win any persuasion speech contest, the system has been perfected. Currently I have listed a few thoughts on the topic and will discuss them below.

The message of salvation, the kingdom of heaven, or the “Gospel” should not be sold like a used car. And believers, you are not God’s used car salesman. Just like good salesman take classes on how to sell a car, learning and perfecting the techniques of sales, or perfecting the craft through personal experience or by a mentor, so to it seems the believer. At times it is sicking all the time and energy spent on “Witnessing Seminars” , “Home Mission’s Workshops”, and “How to Talk About Jesus 101” Sunday school lessons. When in reality all that is needed to be a true witness can simply be what is discussed by Christ.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Mat 25:34-40)

Another issue on the technique of witnessing that I came to realize is that like the used car salesman, believers can be pushy. Know that one who cares about his life’s path will not buy your car until he has examined first what is under the hood. Believers may use rhetoric to make a persuasive speech, that still, after being caught up in the emotion of that speech, I may not come to myself until days later. But that will not set anyone on the path of virtue, salvation or righteousness. For those set on such a path with good intentions spurred on by emotion will get lost when coming to themselves. Also believers may use intimidation and scare tactics, or that of promises as bribes. Like some used car salesman, those who use such tactics are nothing but crooks and thieves. For virtue and salvation should be obtained after rigorous inspection and not out of fear or bribes.

So in conclusion it would be good for those who feel compelled to pounce on some unsuspecting non-believer in order to drag him, as a lion would take a wounded sheep, into your pen of salvation; know that your technique it’s self maybe the cause for so many leaving your fold, and why your advancements are met with retaliation and scorn. For some of us would never buy a car without looking under the hood, or tracing all it’s parts back to the manufacture, or looking at the history of the vehicle. We have bought lemons before. Some also realize that virtue and salvation is not as free as some salesmen would imply. Like software, the initial download is free but the upgrade to “Salvation Pro 1.5” may cost you your life and your all.

 “Listen, then, Socrates, to us who have brought you up. Think not of life and children first, and of justice afterwards, but of justice first, that you may be justified before the princes of the world below. For neither will you nor any that belong to you be happier or holier or juster in this life, or happier in another, if you do as Crito bids. Now you depart in innocence, a sufferer and not a doer of evil; a victim, not of the laws, but of men. But if you go forth, returning evil for evil, and injury for injury, breaking the covenants and agreements which you have made with us, and wronging those whom you ought least to wrong, that is to say, yourself, your friends, your country, and us, we shall be angry with you while you live, and our brethren, the laws in the world below, will receive you as an enemy; for they will know that you have done your best to destroy us. Listen, then, to us and not to Crito.” Socrates, Crito by Plato

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