Thursday, October 10, 2013

Missed Opportunities

Yesterday afternoon a nice looking, friendly couple came to our door. They asked us if we were concerned about child safety, especially about kidnappings. Having three kids under the age of 6, we, of course, said yes. The gentleman, a Mr. Hatt, told us he had a great "child safety kit" that would help rescue any of our kids that might happen to get lost or stolen from us, that this kit was something the police and fire fighters had asked him and his partner to go around the neighborhood distributing to people, to help protect families. Are we interested? he asked. Of course we are. Who wouldn't be! That was all Mr. Hatt and company needed to get in our front door, give us a worthless piece of paper (the "child safety kit") and launch into a 3 hour long life insurance sales pitch.

He was slick, I'll give him that, having every dirty sales trick in the book at his disposal. Videos about impending death, and financial ruin (for families without life insurance), a one-time only offer that had to be taken advantage of right then and there, an unwillingness to leave our home, and loads of guilt if we choose not to purchase. I'm not financial expert, but it seems like whole life insurance is a pretty bad investment for a young family and a sweetheart commission for the salesman.

Missed opportunities... did we miss out on a great life insurance plan? No, we were suckers and purchased, although we cancelled later that night, but we did miss out on a golden opportunity, one you might be missing out on as well, the opportunity to evangelize. Here this young couple is, sitting at my dinning room table, surrounded by pictures of the Creation of Man and the Last Supper and the only thing we are talking about is life insurance. What about eternal life insurance? Here we are watching videos of funerals, talking of what plans we have made (or not made) regarding the last things and the only thing we are talking about is life insurance. What about judgement, Heaven, and Hell?

 The last three popes have called all Catholics - you and me included - to evangelize the world, Christ Himself calls us to this as well, "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt 28:19-20). Here I was presented with a great opportunity to share the Good News with two people who, in our increasingly anti-Christian culture, may never have heard it and it didn't even cross my mind! There Christ is hanging on the Cross in my entryway and sharing His resurrection with these possibly lost souls wasn't a priority of mine. A priest once told me that the "Gospel according to Nathan" might be the only Gospel someone hears, and I fell mute, too busy wondering if purchasing life insurance would be a good investment in my family's future, when preaching Christ is the best investment any of us can make. Here I was, forced to serve God or mammon (cf. Matt 6:24) and mammon did I choose. I only pray that I might not miss such opportunities in the future, souls might be lost if I do, perhaps even my own.

The next time an annoying door-to-door salesman comes knocking, invite him in. Sit an talk with him. Offer him a glass of water or a cup of coffee and invite him to meet the Risen One. Invite him to Mass. Sell him eternal life insurance. The New Evangelization must start one soul at a time.

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