We are precious in God's sight, not targets of quotas to be conquered.
Not objects to be manipulated, but sacred subjects to be cared for.
For we are the sacred creation of our living God.
Some years ago, Martin England, a white Southern insurance man, learned that the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not covered by a life insurance policy. That worried him almost daily. He ran after Dr. King convincing him to buy a suitable insurance plan for his family. It wasn't easy chasing King for weeks. But finally he got Dr. King to sit down with him and his persistence paid off Dr. King signed the insurance papers.
Tony Campolo, recalling this story in one of his books, noted that it wasn't long afterward that an assassin's bullet pierced Dr. King's body and took from America the greatest of all modern spokespersons for freedom. Fortunately, the tragedy of King's death was not compounded by his leaving behind a destitute family. An ordinary insurance man had taken care of matters through an extraordinary commitment to meet an important need.
He cared. That's what makes Martin England different from the other insurance salesmen. He cared not for what he could benefit from a successful deal but what his clients would get from such a deal.
I'll never forget the experience I had with two young men who entered our house convincing me to buy a set of very expensive encyclopedia. It was easy to refuse. My mother-in-law already bought a similar set from articulate salesmen. And I preferred a lean cd-rom encyclopedia more than this voluminous literature.
But I became more curious as the two gentlemen alternately delivered their well-rehearsed sales pitch. They had quick rebuttal for every objection I raised. That whetted my appetite for debate all the more as I wanted to see how these guys were trained to sell.
The animated exchange continued for the next forty-five minutes. And the boys' patience began to wear thin. The older boy then delivered a monologue on the supposed benefits of this product. That did not work. Finally, they gave up. That's when I introduced myself as a marketing man and offered tips on making a sale. Perhaps more out of sheer exhaustion than politeness, they listened.
There was nothing wrong with what they said, I told them. But everything about their approach was wrong. They were so engrossed with their sales formula that they neglected the human side of the deal and that is the heart of meeting a person's need. A sensitive customer can smell a mile away that he is being treated like a project to be finished, not a human to be helped. That kills any prospect long before the salesman opens his mouth.
Customers - that's the rest of us - have been created in the image and likeness of God.