My husband, who runs a life insurance and financial services office, was working at his desk, when one of his managers walked in. “Can you break away for a minute?” he asked. “I just need you to hear something.” So, Kevin followed him out, and into one of their interview rooms.
Before them sat a young man, fresh out of college. His manager had been conducting an initial interview for entry-level insurance sales, and now said to the fellow, “This is our Managing Partner, Mr. Garman. Can you tell him what you were telling me?” Puffing up a bit in his chair, he responded with the following:
“Sure. As I was telling Mr. *Smith, here, I have a list of demands of any company I decide to work for. Basically, they are as follows:”
- A base salary of $50,000
- An office, not a cubicle
- Reimbursement for all tolls, and mileage to and from the office, and all sales appointments
- Provision of sales leads
- Secretarial staff
Mr. *Smith (whose name I’ve changed), smiled up at Kevin, who was standing. With a deadpan face, Kevin said, “Well, I think that is perfectly reasonable. Now, I just need one thing from you. Prove you’re already a six-figure income earner in the insurance business, and we’ll start the paperwork.”
The young man shifted uneasily in his seat, and said, “Well, I can’t do that because I just got out of college. But I did work at Target during school, and, well, I graduated from Tulane!”
Kevin sat down and replied, “Good for you. I think it’s great that you’ve graduated from Tulane, but that doesn’t entitle you to one single thing on that list. The ONLY thing that will meet that list of demands is hard work, started at the bottom by learning the business and paying your dues, like Mr. Smith, here, and like me. And I’m afraid you’re going to have to come to terms with that before any office, including mine, will hire you.”
Huffy, the interviewee gathered his things, and walked out, tie crooked over his unironed button down, which was beginning to come out of his crumpled Dockers, and nearly tripped over the untied lace on his Sperry Topsider.
If you’re like me upon hearing this story, you’re shaking your head. You’re sick over what this world is becoming and the audacity and entitlement of the young people coming up in it. But you know what?
We’re just like them.
We approach the God of the universe in puffed-out importance, even as we stand there in our rumpled, disheveled mess. We tell Him we’ll follow Him, but we need Him to meet just a few demands:
- No pain and suffering
- Solutions to all our problems
- The desires of our heart
- All of the above, done on OUR time table, which is RIGHT NOW, please and thank you
The thing is, however, that God doesn’t immediately send us out the door. If we have even a modicum of sincerity, He works with us, humbling us until we can approach Him without demands, and with only an open heart. And the humbling? Ironically, it comes with hard work and paying your dues, which ends up looking a lot like pain and suffering, not always having solutions to every problem, not always getting every desire of our hearts, and rarely, if EVER, having anything done on our own time table.
In the end, though, if we lay the demands aside for humility, we actually become entitled to treasure far beyond anything we could ever have had the audacity to ask for in the first place. And, well, that’s some reimbursement you can take to the (eternal) bank.
God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! ~ Romans 8:16-17 MSG