11.15.2010

Bulldog Tenacity

"RIIIING!"

"Hello?"

Pause, pause, pause.

"Helloooooo?"

"Uh, yes. Mrs. Farris?"

"Yeeees?"

"This is (fill in the blank) Cable Company calling to make you aware of how you can save money by upgrading your subscription to our service."

"No, thanks. I'm not interested."

"But, Mrs. Farris. You are currently spending (X), and I am sure that you would much rather spend less."

"No. I'm not interested."

"Well, I'm certain that you would be interested, if you would be willing to listen to the options that we have available..."

"No, I'm not willing. I really have to go now."

"I understand that, Mrs. Farris. But you will be able to save..."

(Interrupting, irritation growing) "I have to go."

"So many of our customers have already chosen to upgrade because of the unique benefits that we..."

"I'm not interested in hearing your pitch." (She and I both know that I have the upper hand in this situation...the power to end the call.)

"You don't want to save on your cable bill?"

"No."

"Because I am currently showing that you now have the (X) plan. But if you bundle everything together, you can get...."

"I'm sorry. I'm in a hurry. I can't listen to you."

"Mrs. Farris, what you must understand is that..."

(Thinking) Time is UP. I have said NO seven times. The woman obviously has been told never to take no for an answer, no matter how ludicrous this conversation becomes. She leaves me no choice but to lower the boom.

CLICK. Begone!

And with that, the telemarketer is no longer a part of my day. Until the same company calls again later that same day, with...naturally...the same pitch. Before the National Do Not Call Registry came into existence, these situations happened much more frequently. Unfortunately, the little loophole about your current or former business "relationships" allows those folks to continue to call you, even if your number is on the registry.

Not all of them display such bulldog tenacity. Sometimes they wait for only two or three refusals, and then they will graciously surrender. But occasionally you get a fighter, fighting for reasons unknown. Maybe there is an incentive that has been dangled before her. Or maybe there is a fear of what might happen to her if her supervisors find out that she let me off too easily. Fighters fight... because somewhere along the line, somebody gave in to their shameless persistence. And for all they know, I just might, too. So they ask.

Somebody in the 11th chapter of Luke asked. A lot.

"Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. [emphasis mine]

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:5-8)

The friend that was in bed for the night initially said no. But that neighbor kept knocking. And knocking. And knocking. Asking repeatedly. Never giving up. Refusing discouragement. Standing outside the door with shameless persistence. What you would do if one of your neighbors did that? You would throw those loaves out the door at them! "Here's the bread! Take it! Now let me sleep!" (Either that, or call the police.)

Most of us do not aspire to be telemarketers. They are the ones who disturb our private home lives, just like the neighbor in the parable. And there is probably not a more disheartening job on the planet than being hung up on all day long. But the one thing they have going for them, if nothing else, is their persistence. In the same way, rather than praying halfheartedly and then giving up, it might not hurt to take a cue from them and really press in. And thankfully, the Father is not waiting in hostility to hang up on us. He is lovingly waiting to hear us ask.

He's not a customer that is obligated to pay when a service is provided. He's not a magician that pulls rabbits out of hats. We cannot understand his ways, why some prayers are answered and others are not. But we do know this: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you," Jesus said in Matthew 6:33.

How to seek?

With bulldog tenacity.


Until next time,

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