This is a true story. I had been traveling, consulting churches, and finally made it home. Our kids were young and I was looking forward to time at the dinner table, which we considered to be sacred. As we talked across the table, I asked my wife, Janet, how things had gone while I was away. She indicated that things were fine except that our vacuum cleaner had broken. She said we needed a new vacuum cleaner. We talked about how we should start looking for one at some time in the future.
Just about that time, a man came to the door and knocked. I got up and went to the door with the intention of quickly dismissing whoever was interrupting our sacred family time at the dinner table. When I opened the door, there stood a man I had never met who said, “Hi! I’m a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman and I’m selling the very best vacuum cleaner that is available anywhere. It is not sold in stores, but it is the best you can find.”
What do you think I did? Actually, I told the guy I wasn’t interested. I told him we were eating dinner and I didn’t want to talk about it. I went back to the table and my wife said, “Who was that?” I said, “Oh, it was just a salesman.”
Here’s my point: did we have the need? Absolutely! We had just talked about it! Here’s the
issue: do people need salvation? Do they need Jesus Christ? Do they need hope, direction, purpose, and all the other great things that life with God gives us? Absolutely! So why didn’t I talk to the man? Because I didn’t know him. He was a stranger. We had no relationship. There was no credibility.
The story doesn’t end there. About a week later, my wife got together for lunch with one of her best friends, our pastor’s wife, Cindy. While eating lunch, Cindy asked my wife how things were going and Janet said, “Well, right now I’m in the market for a vacuum cleaner. Do you know of a good brand or what store is best to shop?” Cindy said, “It’s a funny thing you asked that. Just a week or so ago, we had a man come to the door. I wasn’t doing anything at the time—my husband, Paul, was at church working, so I stopped and talked to him at the door. He said he had the best vacuum cleaner there was available. So I invited him in, listened to his demonstration, and I was very impressed. Paul came home at the end of the demonstration and I talked to him about how impressed I was with this vacuum cleaner, so we decided to buy it.” Then Cindy gave the salesman’s card to my wife, Janet.
The next day, Janet called the number on the card and made an appointment for the man to come that night. When he arrived…guess what? It was the same man! We were ready and eager to buy. Why? You see his product didn’t change a bit. The quality was the same as it was the first time I met him. Our need hadn’t changed either. We needed a vacuum cleaner the first time I met him and we still needed it when he returned. What was the difference? Cindy. She was a credible witness, a significant other, someone who has a lot of influence in our lives. We bought the vacuum cleaner.
You see, the Gospel moves best across relationships, one-on-one contacts with people who build relationships with others and then share their story of how they found the Answer to their greatest need. That’s how the expansion of God’s Kingdom takes place.
How have you seen the Gospel move across relationships? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.