I mentioned yesterday that when I first joined my former church, one of my greatest fears was that people were being nice to me only because it was “Christian” to do so. I could not discern if people liked me for me. Luckily time proved that many of the people I met were, in fact, genuine.
Were my fears unfounded? I don’t believe they were; in fact, I see similar patterns in almost every area of my life. Maybe I’m naive, but I really wish I had the pleasure of being in a society where everyone looked out for everyone else, and there were no impure motives.
Unfortunately, we lived in a society filled with idolatry….and the number one competitor for our Godly affections is greed! Matthew and Luke both warn us that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13).
Several years ago, I interviewed for a sales position with a company whose product I personally believed in. During the interview, I was asked by the VP of Sales what motivated me. I told him that I enjoyed helping people, and was quickly told that was the incorrect answer. As a salesman, I learned, money must be my primary motivator. I tried to explain that by caring about the person, and recommending products that truly met their needs, I would have customers who trusted me and the sales would follow. However, that was not the “pit-bull”, achieve your sales goals “by any means necessary” attitude the company desired.
I have interacted with salesmen throughout my life, and flee from the slimy salesman who sugar coats reality and tells me what I want to hear. But, lately, it seems they are incredibly difficult to avoid. They’re proactive, too! I can’t even work out at the gym without someone telling me I need “personal training” to meet my fitness goals. The trainers (like car salesmen) try to seclude you in an office, bring in the fitness manager, and lead off with “How much money do you have budgeted to becoming fit?”
Even telemarketers seem to have upped their game. I generally avoid answering cold calls, but I happened to pick one up right before Thanksgiving. The “Welcome Wagon” was calling to offer me my “free water test” for moving into the neighborhood, and tried asking me all kinds of personal questions before setting up the appointment for someone to visit. Never did they ask if I was even remotely interested in purchasing a water softener for my home. They just hoped to visit my house and prove to me that I needed to purchase a water softener to improve my quality of life.
I can even include guys interested in ummmm romance (eye roll) to this list. It’s amazing how some men will say all of the right things until you either give into what they’re looking for, or make it clear that you have no intention of doing so. At that point, the flattery completely disappears and you’re left wondering how someone so educated could be so stupid to fall for those lines!
I hate to be so skeptical of people and their motives… I really do; it’s not my nature! But, just like everything else these days, the manipulators of this world are spoiling everything for the sincere. Personally, I want to go back to a time where I could truly appreciate Paul’s words…
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8)”.