For most of my life, I have been a salesperson and an educator of salespeople. One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about my career in sales is the intensely demanding nature of the job. Human beings are incredibly complex creatures, whose motivations and emotions seem to swirl like smoke from a bonfire, changing directions in unpredictable ways, always elusive and hard to corral. And, as salespeople, we work with multiples of these elusive human beings, trying to influence them to do what we want them to do. It is intense and demanding work.
We all know how good it feels to work hard for a deal and get it. Some of the biggest moments of my career are wrapped around the “Yes” of a big or especially difficult decision. Few other professionals experience that moment.
And with that intense high comes the other side of the coin. Every salesperson knows and understands the self-doubt, regret, frustration and depression that comes with the job. In what other jobs are you so personally invested? In what other jobs are you so frequently rejected?
Did you ever wonder why you do it? Of course, I know you do it for the money and the self-satisfaction. Got it. That’s not what I’m asking. I’m asking about those questions you ask yourself in the quiet of the night, when you’re awake in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. Those doubts you have after a particularly depressing day or week. Beyond the money, and the self-satisfaction, are there deeper motivations? Why are you putting yourself through this?
I have formulated what I call the “Rule of the Fifth Why.” It says that if you ask “Why?” to any question, and then again to the answer, you will arrive, by the fifth why, to a question why can only be answered in a spiritual term. Let me show you. Watch.
Question 1: Why do you do this difficult, demanding, intense work?
Answer: Because it’s a job and I need to make money.
Question # 2: Why?
Answer: Why do I need to make money? Because I want to live and enjoy my life and support my family.
Question 3: Why?
Answer: Because it’s what people do.
Question 4: Why?
Answer: Why do people do that? Because it is in our genetic make up, I guess. Because that’s who I am. It’s just in me.
Question 5: Why?
Answer: Why is it in me? I suppose it could be just the luck of the draw, an accident of nature. But that never did sound reasonable to me. Maybe because there is a God, and that’s how he made us.
There you go. When I asked, “Why do you do this,” I was really asking: “What’s your fifth why?” Most people will answer somewhat similarly to the answer above, citing God, or a supreme being. That’s understandable. I have come to understand that God, the creator, and sustainer of the universe, so loves his creatures that he planted in them a hunger to seek Him. And if we are honest, and objective, we will eventually arrive at a place where we recognize that hunger.
It often makes itself known in the form of a realization that something is missing from our lives – that there must be more than just this. How many times have you felt that something was missing from your life? You are not alone. Most people feel that. That sense that something is missing is intentionally resident in you. God put it there because he wants you to seek him. More than seek him, he wants you to know him.
To this day, I have a hard time grasping that. That this great creator of the universe, who is so large, so powerful, so other-worldly that we can hardly even begin to imagine, is consumed by a passion to bring his creation – you and I – into an intense relationship with Him. It is his overriding passion. Incredible.
Honestly, most days I can hardly get my arms around that. I know what it is to be educated, I know what it is to love and be loved. I know what it is to have and then to lose children. I have succeeded and failed, financially. I have been in courts and won and lost. I have traveled in diverse countries and conversed with people who live in ways I cannot imagine. I have written books and spoken to tens of thousands of people. And I can barely fathom it.
The Bible says, “for God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but will have eternal life. (John 3:16)” What a thought.
When you consider your “fifth why,” when you seek that which is missing in your life, when you confront the question of what your life really is about, you will discover that He is the answer to all of that.
Here’s the thing. We have free will and can choose to seek him or not. Just like, as salespeople, we can choose where we go and who we see. And we understand that the level of our success is dependent on how well we make those decisions. So too, on a much deeper level, we have been given the ability to choose. Right or wrong, good or bad, God or no-God.
Now, I’m sure that some of you are thinking, “I’m not sure there is a God. “I can understand. At one time, I thought that, too. I felt, like you do, that something was missing from my life. So, I searched for it. I got into Buddhism, and Zen, and found it lacking. I just couldn’t accept that the highest aspirations of a human being should be to become nothing. Deep inside me, I felt just the opposite, that I had talents and gifts and should give those expression, not repression. I moved through atheism to agnosticism to yoga, humanism, and just about every other “ism”, you could think of. Nothing filled that missing space.
At the same time, I was searching for something, my life was a mess. At 24 years old, I had already been married and divorced. I had nothing I believed in, nothing to provide focus or direction in my life. I had no purpose, no direction, and I was searching for something that was missing in my life.
Somewhere along the line, I read the book, The Late, Great Planet Earth. You may have heard of it. It was a book that took biblical prophecy about the end of the world and made it very practical and assessable. Its description of the trials and tribulations attending the end of times was frightening. I decided I did not want to be on the wrong side of that.
So, I bought a Bible and began to read it. It’s an amazing book. Approximately forty different authors, writing over a span of 1600 years, and yet it all hangs together, telling one big story, with a style that is consistent and unique. From my perspective, the best evidence for the existence of God is the existence of the Bible. Most people who question it or challenge it have never read it.
If this is where you are at, click here, and we’ll hook you up with a Bible and some information to help you sort it out.
What you will find is the same thing that I found, and the same things that millions of people from hundreds of different cultures, languages and times have found. That in this world of free choice, God wants us to choose him. It is his passion. He implanted that hunger in us. He gave us the Bible that practically screams at us, over and over again, “Choose me.” And, finally, he gave us his son to remove all the obstacles between us and him, and to model the kind of life that pleases him the most.
Now, some of you are thinking, “Got it, Dave. I’m with you. But I believe that there aremultiple ways to come to know God. Each person figures out their own way. That’s why there are all these different religions.” I understand that thought. At one time, I thought that, too. It’s sort of comforting. Just a little bit of study, however, will deflate that idea. Jesus said, for example, “I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:7)
Once you’ve heard (or read) that, you must deal with this. You can’t ignore it. This is an absolute statement. There is no wiggle room in there. It’s not “salesman’s talk.” (salesman’s talk = vague, warm, positive-sounding conversation that has little substance) Just the opposite. How could it be more absolute?
So now, you must deal with this, just like I did. Was Christ a liar? Did he not know what he was talking about? Or maybe, he was just mistaken, and you really know these things better than he did. Or, maybe, he meant exactly what he said. And what he said was there is one way to come to know God, and it is through Christ.
You see, at this point, you either accept him or reject him. There’s no middle ground.
As for me, I chose to believe the plain, clear, unambiguous, absolute and precise statement of Jesus Christ above the vague and general assertions of other people. I’d rather put my faith in him, than the guy down the street who asserts something different but has never encountered Christ. He is the Son of God. He is the bridge that God put in place for all of us to cross over the separation between God and us and have a relationship with the great creator of the universe. He is the plan. He is the way.
If you are going to connect with God, you must do it through Christ.
OK, so now you are wondering, “What exactly does that mean? What do I have to do?” Great question. You are hardly the first person to ask it. At some point, a few months into my study of the Bible, I asked the same question. You see, if you go to the Bible with an open mind, you will be convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, and the only way to connect with God.
Actually, the New Testament is full of examples of people who asked the same thing. In every case, the answer was the same: “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”(Acts 2:38) In other words, God will enter into you, and remain in you. You will have delighted him. His passion is to connect with you, and you will have decided to let Him in. He will be ecstatic!
But you must first respond to him. Repent means to make a conscious decision to live your life differently. To turn from what you did before and to head in a different direction. That means that you decide to stop living for yourself and decide to start following Christ.
You don’t have to be perfect; you don’t have to give up everything you have known; all you must do is decide to follow Christ and let that take you wherever it will. See, first you must make the decision. Then, you must show that you have made the decision. That’s the second part, “be baptized.”
That means that you have someone dunk you under water and pull you up again. I know, it sounds weird. But, in every case in the Bible of people deciding to follow Christ, that’s what they did. So, go find someone – it doesn’t matter who – to submerge you under the water and to help you up. It’s a simple thing, really. Most churches will be able to do that, but it doesn’t have to be in a church. For example, I baptized one of my daughters in the Indian Ocean, one of my granddaughters in a swimming pool, and a friend in the bathtub. It doesn’t matter who does it, or where it is, only that you have someone do it.
Christ was baptized, by the way, in exactly that way. If you are hesitant or can’t find anyone, send me an email and I’ll hook you up with someone.
When you’ve done that, everything changes. You are now one of God’s children, who chose him. Man is he happy with you. Connecting with God is both an event and a process. So, that’s the event part. You have changed everything. Although it may not look, from your perspective, like anything has changed, from a spiritual perspective, it is a new world. Now comes the process part.
See, following God, connecting with God requires an event – you repenting and being baptized – and then a process that continues throughout your life. You will gradually, over time, come to be more and more like your creator. He will gradually infuse your life with his power and his spirit, and slowly and gently turn you into someone in his own image. You will become God-like. Of course, you’ll never get a hundred percent there. Sort of like Vince Lombardi, talking about football. Here’s what he said:
“We will relentlessly pursue perfection, knowing full well that we will never attain it, because no one is perfect. But we will pursue perfection because in the process we will catch excellence.”
Great thought. God is going to work with you. You are not finished, only just begun. As you go through your life, you’ll find yourself coming to become more and more like him.
You ought to focus on a couple of basic things to stay in the process. First, create a daily routine of reading the Bible and talking to God. It’s really simple, but you must decide to do it, and create the routine of doing so. Second, you’ll find it enormously helpful to network with some like-minded people. You may find a church you like, but more importantly, try to find a small group or someone who will meet with you regularly and help coach you through the process. I can probably hook you up with a Christian salesperson who will commit to talking with you regularly. Just email me.
There are benefits along the way. God has promised a whole bunch of things to those who follow Him. Far too many to describe here. But, here’s a couple. He will prosper you. Not every day, and not all the time, but he wants you to live a life that reflects positively on your relationship with him. He wants you to enjoy the balance of your life, and He will arrange it to bring you prosperity.
He has promised you, and this is the big one, “Peace that passes understanding.” In other words, in those wee hours of the night when you can’t sleep, it will no longer be because you are worried or anxious. He will implant into the core of your being a peace that is indescribable. You’ll know it when you have it.
Those are just a couple of his promises. Really, truly, as you set your sights on him and follow him, the life he will unfold to you will be deeper, and richer, and more fulfilling than anything you can imagine. He is in the business of transforming lives, providing hope, instilling assurance, providing a sense of purpose, and embedding peace. I’m so glad I came to know him.
I’m not done, just like you. It’s a process. Here’s what I told my wife I want written on my tombstone: “He became a Godly man.” It’s a process that takes us all in that direction.
Sort of like the intensity of sales only multiplied and magnified.
I really hope you’ll come to know him.