I fancy myself a pretty good peddler. Okay, I think I’m real good. One of, if not, the best. So as a car-guy I like new challenges and different scenarios that make me employ new techniques and force me to think on my feet. I have sold to executives, diplomats, politicians and attorneys. From engineers to street hustlers; from the least of these to the greatest I’ve closed them all. So who’s left? What deal can push my sales ability beyond its limits? It didn’t take long till it dawned on me; the deal of the century... perhaps the deal of all time- I would close God on why He should let me into Heaven. Certainly lesser people have entered the Pearly Gates but they are lowly, meek and humble people. I would sell myself to the King of the Universe on why He should have me in His Kingdom. I was intent on sticking to the basic road-to-the-sale format I have successfully used for decades in selling cars.
“Hello God, thank You for giving me some of Your time. My name is...”
“I know who you are Brad.” He replied in an authoritative voice that was somehow soothing at the same time. He knew me, that was cool. He had heard of me; my reputation preceded me.
“Excellent, of course You know me. I appreciate the opportunity to present you with information that I believe will convince You to allow me into Heaven, when my time comes, of course.”
“You believe?” He asked almost incredulously.
“Well, You know what I mean.” I explained.
“Yes. I do. In fact, I already know all I need to know.” God said sounding like His mind was already made up.
“May I ask that You, if You can, indulge me to present to You the features and benefits I offer and share with You my value in a way I think only I can?” I requested.
“Amen.” He said.
“Amen?” I asked. “Isn’t that what people say when they’re done talking to You?”
He answered gently, “It means ‘So be it.’”
“Oh, okay... then cool. I can do it... my way?” I was a little unsure.
“I’m listening Brad.”
“Well Sir, may I ask what it is You are looking for in a citizen of Heaven?” I began my query.
He replied plainly, “Perfection.”
I was a bit startled by this answer, “Well, that seems to be a bit unrealistic, if I may be so bold. But what I can offer is...”
“My requirement is perfection. It is true, I am Love; I am also Just. Do you possess holiness, purity, righteousness and humility.” He interjected.
“All right, I’ve got my work cut out for me but here goes: What does Brad have to offer? Let me begin by telling You that I have contributed significantly to many local and international charities to better the lives of others but giving of my money is just the tip of the iceberg of my qualifications for Heavenly citizenship. I have given my time to many worthy causes; soup kitchens, helping repair homes and schools for the underprivileged to reach out and assist those in need, ‘The least of these”. (I’ll admit, if felt good to use His words in my presentation- I felt like I scored some serious points with that) I am pleasant, courteous, a gracious neighbor always welcoming strangers. I even occasionally pick up hitchhikers which, while technically illegal, I do for people who really look like they are desperate and sometimes I have Gospel music playing in my car. Additionally, while working in an industry that is fraught with temptations, I dare say I have conducted myself with utmost integrity. I have honored my marriage, never cheated on my wife. I have been a great parent, always loving my children, being stern but not abusive and empowering but not neglectful.”
The Demonstration: “You can see my various awards, many for sales but also from civic groups thanking me for all I do in the community. I have videos of much of my charitable works. I’ll just play those for You...”
“I’ve seen them.” He said, seemingly unimpressed.
“When did You... oh, right- You’re omnipresent. Makes sense. Well do You remember the one when I was on the mission trip and broke my ankle but worked through it? I mean most people would have just mailed it in and given up but I was committed to seeing the job through.” I proudly stated.
“Yes, I do remember. Do you remember the name of the little boy who wanted to play catch with you while you were busy working?” The Lord asked me.
“Oh yeah... that little kid, oh he was so annoy- uh energetic. Ahem. Ronny or Ricardo I think.” I answered with little confidence.
“Close, his name is Rodrigo.”
“Right! Right, yeah Rodrigo. Good kid. What about him?”
“Couldn’t you have put the hammer and lumber down and played catch with him for a few minutes?”
“Yeah, but we had to get the job done. We didn’t have time to play around, we had work to do.”
“You didn’t have time to play.”
“That’s what I said.”
“No, you said “we didn’t have time to play” but it was YOU who didn’t have time. Rodrigo had time to play and given the fact that his father abandoned him, any time anyone could spend with him playing or talking would have significant impact.” Counseled the Almighty.
“Okay, but we did finish the project on time. That’s why I was there in the first place.” I insisted.
I started to realize finishing that project wasn’t why I went on that mission trip. The truth that my good intentions and accomplishments weren’t the goal dawned on me. A thought came to my mind, “Relationships, not results.” I regained my composure and moved forward toward the Close, feeling like I still had the ammunition to shut the deal.
“Well,” I said, “I believe I have shown You my purity, righteousness, humility and even some holiness. Will You grant me citizenship in Heaven and eternity with You?”
“What of perfection?” asked the King.
“I understand how You feel, I've felt the same way- but what I've found is sometimes when we accept something that is different from our expectations well, I mean nobody’s perfect. If you need perfect humility, righteousness and that other stuff then I guess Heaven’s population is pretty sparse. I’m better than most...”
“Let me stop you right there: Yes, you do some good things and help people and even conduct business ethically. It’s not enough. It’s written that if you break the law in any point, you have broken the entire law. You fall short Brad. My Word says that all have sinned and fall short of My glory.”
“So no one gets in? What kind of deal is that? I believe my good far overshadows my bad.”
“You do? I spell out what is required and give free will to choose and you have chosen wrong at times. If you miss a plane by one second or one hour what is the difference? You still missed the plane.”
“Wow,” I responded incredulously “so that’s it? Heaven, population: You.”
“I assure you, I am not alone in Heaven and I do desire for the population to increase.”
“That’s my point Sir. I believe I deserve to be in Heaven, I do not think I’m worthy of eternal punishment!”
“Interesting words: deserve and worthy. You say you have never cheated on your wife but I have witnessed your unfaithfulness.”
“I have NEVER...”
“Hold that thought Brad. I didn’t say you committed adultery per se, but that you were unfaithful to her with your customers, your boss, your job.”
“Okay but I work to provide nice things for her.”
“I know beyond any doubt your wife would gladly give her entire jewelry box away if it meant she had more time with you.”
“So are You suggesting I quit my job? I don’t think she would want to spend time with me with no home or food.”
“I have said since the fall of man that you would earn by the sweat of your brow. Just don’t make the job your top priority. Your wife and children are not accessories with which you adorn yourself.”
I relented, “I get it. But even if I do that You’re saying I don’t get into Heaven. Give me a moment please?”
“Certainly.” He granted.
I found myself on the road-to-the-sale with no options. Objections that couldn’t be overcome. I thought to myself, “I need a turn. But nobody could take this turn and close the deal. If I can’t sell my way into Heaven no one else is going to do it for me. I need a turn and there’s no one capable.”
The voice of God spoke gently and confident, “You are right Brad.”
“What? Right about what?”
“You need a turn. You cannot close this deal, as you say.”
“Well, to hear You tell it, no one else can close it either.”
“Oh you don’t know how wrong you are in that assessment my friend.”
Before I could blurt out another word or demand the name of the Closer for the deal of my life a picture or vision flashed in my mind’s eye: a man standing and speaking in front of a large crowd on a hilltop. Then another image: the same man giving sight to a blind man. It came to me, Jesus. I remember these stories from my youth. Another vision: Jesus walking on water. These images came at me rapid fire and I couldn’t tell if they were lasting for a split second or hours, they seemed to linger but continue coming at me. Then the most sobering sight, Jesus nailed to the cross, dying. This vision captured my minds and overshadowed the others, I felt guilty, sad, hopeless. Slowly this dark scene was overtaken by an empty tomb with the stone rolled away and inexplicably hope filled my heart and veins. “Jesus.” I said quietly.
“Yes,” came the bold and reassuring answer. “You need to make your turn to Jesus. He paid the price you couldn’t pay. He offers You righteousness, purity, holiness... perfection; all that He is because he took on Himself all that you are, all your shortcomings and sins. To put it in your terms, He closed the deal for you on that cross. Turn to Him, trust in Him, yield to Him and let My grace save you.”
“I turn! Jesus I need a turn and You are the only One who can close this deal. I turn to You, I put my life, my everything in Your hands. I am yours.”
The deal we can never close has already been closed. We need simply to make the turn and reap the reward of His amazing grace. In every challenge and every difficulty I face I am reminded I don’t need to bear the burden, I can turn to Jesus.
Grace and peace-
© 2013 Brad Alexander
After reading this I can see why you are so successful. Faith is all powerful, but to get the most out of our faith we must set an example of how to live, how to show all respect, and most importantly . . to listen. At the end of day life is pretty simple. The problem is most people don't understand simple. If we do what's right and what's fair in our lives we will have no regrets and everything else will take care of itself.
We work in a business that is not known for it's integrity, so sometimes doing the right thing puts us at odds with the manager at the tower. The end game needs to be. . . Is the deal fair to all concerned?