Nov 27, 2009

do you want the phone call... or not?

Early this morning my best friend and I headed out into the cold 3:15am air to attempt to score some savings for our family. And when I say best friend, of course I mean my wife... there's only one person who is as crazy as I am for our kids, and she and I decided it was worth it to do some advance planning to make the most of the sales happening on "Black Friday." We brought my mom in to spend the night at our house and wake up with our boys, while Katie and I mapped out appropriate gifts for not only Christmas but for upcoming birthdays over the next year.

We hit a number of places that were full of people, starting off with Wal-Mart which allowed people in before their 5am "official" start time to open the registers (although they started early). I watched half-awake parents navigate sales ads, couples split up to cover more ground all at once, and people of all shapes and sizes find a way to get comfortable sitting on the floor in the hope of scoring a big ticket item. Store employees and managers did their best to point people in the right direction, and the presence of law enforcement gave that extra bit of structure to the controlled chaos.

Of course, the best tool (it seemed) for almost everyone finding sanity and security in their choices was the cell phone. People all around were continually chatting and texting to either find one another or simply kill time while they waited. The most popular use, though, was using them to call friends and family members who were somewhere else. I heard a few "Should I get this or shouldn't I?" conversations, but the most prominent were the ones that begin, "I know you're sleeping, but there's a great sale on _____ and I didn't know if you want to get in on it."

Ever make or receive a phone call like that?

It's a risk to try to wake someone up when they'd otherwise stay asleep. Your intentions are good, but you know they may not see it that way. As far as they're concerned, you may be intruding in on their comfort. Maybe they'll be so bothered at your call that it will affect the relationship in future settings when you try to make a connection. (I remember once I lost a friend growing up because his parents thought I called their house at the "wrong time.")

On the other hand, think about the benefit of getting a phone call like this, even if it comes in an inconvenient way. Wouldn't it be great to know that someone thought enough about you to take a risk on the relationship and share a genuine blessing your way? It would require us considering their motive versus the way they went about it, but if you could tap into that you'd understand they weren't trying to bug you but share something they genuinely found to be awesome.

Maybe the metaphor is obvious, but in case it isn't let me spell it out.

If you happen to be one of my readers who isn't fully on board yet with Jesus Christ, I'd simply offer you this analogy as another way to think about the people in your life who are. Specifically, no one is trying to convert you to "shop" as they do, but rather they're experiencing something they want to share with you. While you're comfortable sleeping, so to speak, they believe it's worth the risk to offer it to you. Imagine they've found the best deal out there - a $2000 HDTV on sale for $50 or a $500 trampoline for $25 - you have every right to refuse, but do you "get" why they're so excited to share it with you?

I know the rebuttal... "what if I keep getting calls from people pushing something I don't want?" It's simple. Either consider they see something you don't and trust in your relationship with them to give it a try... or stay asleep. A lot of people make that choice everyday. You can tell, because the very nature of their lives feels like they're sleepwalking.

Or maybe you're someone who has found that great deal and is wondering if it's worth it to share it with another. You know, it is a risk... without a doubt. You may offend someone, and they may not take your phone call the next time. Then again, you may help them in a way they wouldn't have otherwise been blessed by. Just this morning I made a call that helped someone else (who was, in fact, asleep in bed) find a gift I was only two feet away from. Because I did, they benefited from it - as did the next person they share that gift with.

Kind of like some good friends of mine who just a couple weeks ago were baptized for some genuine steps they've taken with God. They are celebrating out loud what Jesus has done within them, and that's largely because of what he's done in my wife and I and our willingness to make the "phone call."

Because wouldn't it be selfish to take part in something so cool and keep all the good news to yourself?

So... are you willing to receive that call?

So... are you willing to make that call?

Or would you rather stay in bed and not worry about either?

Sleep is, after all, quite comfortable.

We shouldn't disturb such things... right?

Everyone should do their own shopping and keep their noses in the own carts... that's the American way, eh?
"For it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" (Ephesians 5:14)

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