Because Life Is More than Money

A man aspiring to be a world-class salesman struggles to sell himself to would-be employers. To prove himself he concocts a selling scheme. In a high-traffic shopping area he sets up a display table. On the table he places a large bowl of nice looking, but stale chips and a bowl of attractive, but rancid chip dip. He invites passers-by to samples. “This tastes terrible, it’s awful!” complains almost every partaker. To which the salesman responds, “I know, would you like to buy a bottle of this mouthwash?” He sells lots of mouthwash. Emboldened with that experience, he interviews for a sales position with a large company and lands the job. He goes on to be a one of the leading salesman for the company.

Was this aspiring salesman deceitful? Probably, as he intentionally made things appear different than they really were. Was he shrewd? -  yes. And he was creative in accomplishing his aim without really harming anyone.  The Bible includes an unusual phrase about being shrewd and harmless.

Matthew 10:16 reads in-part, “be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.”. Before I type what I understand about that phrase, let me type the whole passage from which that phrase comes.

The setting is Jesus talking to His disciples before He sends them out with His message. “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are My followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about Me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

To carry out the assignment Christ gives His followers they need the shrewdness, wisdom if you will, of the snake and the innocence of the dove. Only those characteristics of these two animals are to be true of Jesus’ followers. We are not to strike back when someone “corners” us like the snake does. We are not to inflict poison like the snake does. We are not to be clueless and careless like the dove – doves build nests and lay their eggs where their predators can easily snatch them. Be only like the snake in its wisdom and be only like the dove in its innocence.

So, we are to communicate Christ’s message with wisdom and with innocence!

Happy communicating the message Christ gave us in the way He commanded us to do it.

                                                                        Doug Johnson