December 03, 2008

Salesperson in the Office

The secretary's voice came over the intercom in my office, letting me know that a representative from a company that makes church photo directories had stopped by and was wanting to speak with me. I'm still getting used to communicating by intercom. I'm a slow learner when it comes to technology--how I figured out blogging is anyone's guess--and anytime I need to ask the secretary something, I walk across the hall into her office rather than use that little machine on my desk with all the buttons.

"Are you available?" she asked. I had to think about that for a moment. I was in the middle of working on next week's sermon. Like several of my recent sermons, this one is based on the idea of re-orienting our worldview to the worldview introduced by Jesus. A part of that worldview involves recognizing every human being as a beloved child of God.

I wanted to tell the secretary to tell the salesperson to go away. However, I knew that the salesperson knew that I was here. Would I have walked out there myself only to say, "Go away" ? No. That would be a poor representation of Christian hospitality. So I couldn't ask the secretary to dismiss the salesperson for me.

"YES, I'LL SEE HER," I said into the intercom, loud enough that the intercom probably wasn't necessary. I just never know how well these things work when I'm standing five feet away.

I walked out to the hall to greet the salesperson. I tried to be kind as she showed me a sample directory. At the same time, I did not invite her into my office. A conversation in the hall will go by much quicker, I hoped.

After a few minutes, she asked if I had a business card. I wanted to say, "Yes, but you can't have one." Instead, I said, "Yes, but they're in my office. Let me get you one. Feel free to step in, if you like." Ugh.

She talked for a few more minutes. She handed me the sample directory, as well as a booklet of the company's services. As I accepted them from her, my eyes couldn't help but glance, for a brief second, at the recycle bin. I thanked her for coming, trying (unsuccessfully) to sound sincere, hoping that she would take the hint. She did.

I think I'll preach on treating others with kindness and hospitality for a few more weeks ... for my sake, if no one else's.

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