One night I was up late and having problems getting to sleep. After getting an update on the evening sports scores I began surfing the channels and a familiar infomercial came on featuring the super absorbent “Sham Wow” and the hawker selling them (at right). If you care enough to look for the product online, you can view the same infomerical I did and watch this guy quickly fast talk his way through a bottle of soda spilled on a carpet and how just one of the “Sham Wow” towels picked it all up even to the padding underneath.
How a spiritual illustration came to me during that time I’ll never know but I began to wonder how many people were picking up their phones to order after this demonstration? The hawker claims to have made good money on the product (he owns it). So much so, he’s now also hawking some chopper that you can hit with your fist to make mounds of salsa (he owns that product too)!
Anyway, my thought was this: When we talk about Jesus to our friends and people who ask, are we pitching Him just like the sham wow guy? Look at the similarities. This guy makes a mess and tells us his answer will quickly fix it down to the very pad. In our anxiousness to see people come to the Lord, do we sometimes take their lives and spill it out like the cola on the pad and then claim that Jesus can come and fix it all, sopping up our mess right down to the pad? Oh there may be a rough spot, even the sham wow guy has to flip the towel and give it a few hits of the hand to soak up the last ounces of cola. But look, the sham wow picked it up in seconds. Perhaps we “turn the towel” when our friends bring up this objection or that objection. We get so focused on the decision, we forget that life’s messes don’t quite clean up like the sham wow.
Does that mean Jesus isn’t worth the decision? Absolutely not. But when we get so worried about the decision rather than the heart condition of the person making that choice, we risk damaging them for eternity. Sure Jesus forgives our sin when we accept him. But that doesn’t mean he’ll clean up the messiness of consequences after forgiving us. Besides, if were truly repentant, the consequence would mean little compared to the gift of eternal life. Accepting Jesus was the best decision I have ever made. I’ve still lost jobs, been hurt by “church” people, watched friends die lost, and have watched my mother suffer excruciating pain over these past few months as she recovers from yet another illness. Do I still believe? Yes. Do I still trust in the Lord knowing that his greatness will see me through? Absolutely. Do I understand all that God is doing around and in me? NO. I struggle with anger, sadness, and the flesh warring against the Holy Spirit that dwells within me. To paraphrase the apostle Paul’s writings, why is that sin seems to be within easy reach and holiness can at times feel like a constant struggle?
We deny our friends the sweetness that comes in the good times when we deny that the bad times stink and can really, REALLY hurt. When we tell them about Jesus, we only want to focus on the good. It’s in the discipleship that we must, MUST focus on the bad. The sham wow isn’t coming along to sop up the mess and make it all go away. Our good actions in thankfulness to God will eventually help us but we must wade through the bad things sometimes. When we get past the clouds and the sun is shining again, then we can look to the heavens with our fist clenched high and praise God for his goodness. As Job wrote: “Though he slay me, I will give him praise” (Again, my paraphrase).
Thanks sham wow guy. Thank you for clarifying my vision of witnessing to the people I care about.