When Dan left his home that morning, he had a secret, but he did not want to worry his wife. This had been an inner conflict, and concern, for many months now. He was still on his way to work as he pondered, thinking back ten years, when Jim recruited him that day. He only agreed for one reason, and he still remembered the conversation as he replayed it in his head. Jim had asked him to go out for a private talk, a little coffee shop just up the road. It was close to his lunch break, so they went.
Setting there with coffee and a grilled cheese before him, Jim began sharing about the opportunity at Farm Co, and that he was perfect for the job. Dan let him talk for a while before deciding to explain the reason he could never be a salesman.
“Jim,” Dan said, “there is one main thing that has kept me from ever going into a full-blown sales career.” Dan left this statement hanging in the air, pausing, and staring into Jims eyes. He wanted to make sure he understood where he was coming from.
“Well, what is it?” Jim finally asked.
“I’m a Christian, and I simply cannot lie to people about a product. If it is not the very best, then I can’t tell them so. And I can’t be one-of-the-boys. I’m not ‘one-of-the-boys’. I don’t like dirty jokes, and I don’t go to bars. I can’t wine and dine the way companies like to do to win their customers. I know I have the gift, but I just can’t live that lifestyle. How could I compete against salesmen willing to do those things? I’ve always appreciated you, Jim, because you’re an honest guy and Farm Co has a really good product, but you wouldn’t believe the offers my boss gets from other companies. They come in bragging about their service and product, they take him out to Hooters or wherever he wants to go. We end up buying some of their stuff and it’s second rate at best! But the boss keeps it around because he likes the benefits. I couldn’t be one of those guys, Jim. I won’t be one of those guys.”
Dan noticed Jim take a real long drink of his coffee before he sat it down. He had a big smile on his face when he finally responded, “Dan, that is exactly why you are perfect for this job. As you know, we do have the best product going at a fair price. Quality and fairness are priorities one and two with us, because we have Christian men at the head of this company. If there is any wine and dining that needs to be done, we have people that can do that. Dan, you won’t have to lie for our company, and this would be the place you could finally spread your wings and soar.”
The rest was history. Jim talked him into it that day and he absolutely loved it! And he did excel, rising to be one of the top salesmen in a very short time. His regular pay plus commissions proved to be more money than he ever thought he would make, and Cathy was elated. They bought a new house the second year. Then he bought her a luxury minivan just like she always wanted. He had a company truck and didn’t need a vehicle. Life was good! He sold the heck out of those drainage products, because they were the best, and he could sell it with all his heart, and still sleep good at night. Unfortunately, that was no longer true, and therein lie his secret, his conflict, and his problem.
It was a beautiful fall day as he drove down the road. He couldn’t believe he felt so heavy on such a gorgeous day, but he did. It was hard to even appreciate, when you have such dark clouds hanging in your head. He did not understand why the factories had lowered the quality of their product, but they had and there was nothing he could do about it. He used to be able to stand on a corrugated drainage pipe and it would not crush, but this was no longer true, and it wasn’t the weight he had gained, either. He knew the truth, but the conflict was that he liked his level of lifestyle. He simply did not see how they could ever go back to anything less? How would they pay for college for the kids? How could they possibly survive on anything less? Cathy and he were now accustom to the finer things of life. He just couldn’t see any way out, so he told himself to be the good soldier and just keep pressing on. Run harder, do more, make more money until you’re able to leave one day.
As Dan approached the company office he found himself driving right on by. His first sales-call was a contractor in Wheaton, Illinois, about an hour’s drive away. He had everything he needed in the truck, and driving felt good. He kept the wheels of the black four-wheel drive rolling down the road, right along with the thoughts rolling in his head. “What am I going to do?” he asked himself. His sales had already been dropping because he simply would not pitch it as the best pipe out there, anymore. The contractors were discovering the truth, too, and he now dreaded every sales-call.
“What am I supposed to do, Lord? Am I suppose to just quit, and not support my family?” He couldn’t believe he was actually arguing with God. “No one will understand. It will be a horrible testimony, but do I make a living lying? If I don’t get my sales back up, I may not have to quit. Where are you when I need you, Lord?”
Dan used to talk with God a lot while in the truck, but over the years the conversations had become less and less. Prayer had become less too, and he felt a little guilty about asking God where he was when needed. “What’s happened to us, Lord? I just don’t get it anymore.”
Living like a man on a mission kept you busy, and depending on what your mission was…well…? Okay, it was hard to pray and find time to do all the things a Christian is supposed to do. He didn’t want to admit it, but his priorities had been upside down for the past three years, and he had just gotten busier and busier, being successful. He loved being a testimony of the “goodness” of God. Occasionally he was able to help people, when they got in a financial fix, and just needed a hand up. This was his way of witnessing, showing the goodness and prosperity of God, after all, wasn’t that what a Christian was supposed to be? Wasn’t Abraham very wealthy and successful?
Isn’t that what a Christian is supposed to be? The question lingered in his mind. “But what about all the other stuff?” he asked himself. “What about the spiritual side, the invisible things, not the material things we see and touch. When was the last time I actually felt led by an unseen voice to walk in something that was just spiritual, self-sacrificing, based on a kingdom in heaven, and not down here? What about all those things? When do I have time for all those things? When was the last time I spent a day seeking God to find out if I’m even doing what he wants me doing?”
“What the heck?” Dan yelled as he ducked and swerved the wheel! Fortunately, he quickly regained control, pulled off the side and sat there catching his breath. It was so sudden! Something big and black hit the windshield right in front of him. He had reacted as if he were about to be hit, which almost caused him to wreck before he realized what was actually happening. Some big and black bird had smacked his windshield, and now he could see it in his side mirror. It was flopping around still on the road. It could be simply dazed and needing a chance to recover.
Something about that bird called to him, and before he knew it, he popped open his door and began running up the road.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> (End Chapter two. Hope you enjoyed.)