Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Some friends of ours have struggled with a wide variety of health issues over the past several years. Not long ago, a trusted friend told them about a juice taken from a rare fruit that seems to have measurably improved her health, and the health of several people she loves. Our friends invested in that juice, and they like the early results. I can just imagine what would have happened, though, if some telemarketer had called them cold and tried to sell this product to them. Click. I know these people. They never would have bought it from some professional salesman. But it helped when someone like them, and someone they knew and trusted was the one to tell them about it. They wanted what she believed in and what was changing her.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Power of a Satisfied Customer."

That's how most of us are. We're not going to buy from Mr. Slick Salesman. We'll buy from someone who's like us. Even when it comes to the most important choice we'll ever make in our life - our relationship with the God who made us; with the God we'll stand before when we die.

Many of us have found at the cross of Jesus Christ the greatest love in the universe. And in His empty grave, the greatest power in the universe - the power of the only man who ever walked out of His grave under His own power. But every day we're with folks who've never experienced His love or His power and who will never experience His heaven if they don't meet Him for themselves. But whose responsibility is it to tell them?

Many of us would like to leave it to someone who can do it better - like a pastor or evangelist. The problem is that in our world today, those folks are perceived as professional God-salesmen - which most lost folks aren't interested in. But then, God's strategy never has been to leave spiritual rescuing just to His professional lifeguards. He works through the everyday believers; His satisfied customers.

Take our word for today from the Word of God, for example, in John 4:39. Jesus wants to reach the Samaritans in a nearby village, but He's Jewish and they don't like Jews. He doesn't go into that village and have rallies there. He reaches one Samaritan woman and sends her back to her village to tell them about Him. The Bible says, "Many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the woman's testimony." They listened to someone like them. So will the people around you.

Over the past few summers, I've been eyewitness to a modern miracle. In 500 years of missionary effort, only about 5% of Native Americans know Jesus Christ. And yet, I've seen thousands of Native young people give their lives to Christ. Because on our On Eagles' Wings teams, the ones telling about Jesus are people just like them - young Native Americans who have lived the drinking and drugs, the gang life, the violence, the despair, the suicide. But now they have found hope in the Creator's Son, Jesus Christ, and they're going to reservation after reservation introducing young people just like them to Jesus Christ. We're told it's the greatest spiritual harvest in 500 years! Why? Because the messenger is someone like them!

Can you see yourself in this life-saving picture? Who are the people around you going to listen to about Jesus Christ? Someone from their tribe, from their vocation, their avocation, their occupation, their location, their association. Someone who walks the same trail they do day after day, and you're the person they know who's walking that trail with the hope of Jesus Christ and showing the Jesus-difference.

You don't have to go to their world. You're in their world! It is you they'll listen to. It is you God will hold accountable for their soul. Is there someone who could say it better? Maybe. Would they listen to that person? Probably not. They'll listen to you. Jesus is sending you to your people to tell them about Him. Humanly speaking, their eternity is in your hands, and you are their best chance.