I usually try to avoid answering phone calls from telemarketers. With caller-id I can often tell by looking at the number, though sometimes now they route the call through a local prefix to fool me. If I do answer the next telltale sign is the pause after I say hello while the marketer’s computer connects to his headset. So if you call me make sure you say hello right away or I may hang up on you. Even so, sometimes they still get me.
I once answered a call that even displayed an individual’s name and a normal number, and he responded as soon as I answered. But he said, “Hi, this is Shawn from Most High Siding Company and I’d like to offer you a free quote.” Normally I’d jump in and quickly end it right there, but two things caught my attention. First was his voice. There was a sincerity, even a kindness not at all typical of your average telemarketer. The other thing was the company name struck me as odd.
The call still didn’t last long. It turns out Shawn’s the marketer for a small company he formed with a buddy and he was just trying to get referrals. I assured him I’d mention them if I knew of anyone with hail damaged siding and we hung up after a surprisingly pleasant exchange.
Here’s where it got interesting. Within 20 seconds the phone rang again with his number. I picked it up but there was only a pulsing dial-tone indicating we had voice mail. Upon checking the mail I discovered that we had a missed a call earlier in the day from a family going through a serious crisis. We returned the call and Wendy and I were able to support and pray with this person within an hour of the crisis needing to be faced.
Afterwards I looked at Wendy and said, “If that telemarketer hadn’t called just then we’d have missed this. ‘ Most High Siding’, you don’t suppose…” I immediately called Shawn and sure enough, he’s a Jesus follower who approaches his business as ministry. His wife got on the line and all four of us prayed and celebrated God’s faithfulness.
Here’s the takeaway from this: Shawn, in submission to God’s spirit through the normal course of business, conveyed Jesus to me. That’s what I heard in his voice. And the impact was far greater than he could have known. Ask yourself this, “Do people leave encounters with me with a greater passion and desire for Jesus?” That, very simply, is ministry.
If a telemarketer can be a minister, anyone can!