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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Don’t Sell Timeshares – I Sell Mansions

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 KJV

I have the coolest job in the world. I sell free mansions built on streets of gold. My husband Bob usually thinks my job is cool too, but it often involves weeks without seeing me. We try to plan romantic weekends about every three weeks. He was due to arrive the following Saturday and I worried a little about how I was going to explain why touring a timeshare was going to be a part of his romantic weekend in Sedona.

People often invite me to meet with their unsaved or spiritually confused or troubled friends and relatives. I’m always amazed at their courage for taking such a risk. I do my best to honor them, as does the Holy Spirit. I was eagerly awaiting two such appointments the following day.

I got an email about one of the meetings. “He’s excited about the meeting but asked if you sold timeshares.”

I emailed back, “I don’t sell timeshares. I sell mansions.”

I had been out all day and was hot and tired. It was 5:30 PM and time to return to my tiny hotel room for my microwave dinner. I’d been in Sedona for 10 days and there was still no news on camper repairs. No one had prayed to receive Jesus in two days and I confess to fighting discouragement. I couldn’t face going to the lonely four walls so early so I guiltily decided to spend the extra money to eat out.

New Christians

 Dinner was delicious. The two women next to me were from Florida and I was happy to talk about home. While they believed in Jesus, neither went to church, were sure about eternity, or had a relationship with Him. By the end of the dinner, they had prayed to receive Jesus. I left feeling vindicated about my decision to eat out.

As I stepped outside, two men asked where I was from. That’s my line, I thought and decided to be a good sport. They were actually working inside a tiny shop that appeared as if they were selling Sedona tours. Since Bob was coming to town for a romantic weekend, I thought a tour might be a good idea.

As I looked at tours, the man wearing the nametag Alan said, “What if I could get you that for free.”

I went to laughing. “You’re selling timeshares, aren’t you?”

“Well,” Alan hesitated, looking sheepish. “I’m certainly setting up timeshare tours but if you will just spend 90 minutes on a tour, you can get that dinner for free.”

“If I listen to your sales pitch, you have to listen to mine,” I joked. “I sell the best product there is. I’m a Christian and help people have eternal life with Jesus. I had someone ask today if I sold timeshares. I told them, ‘No, I sell mansions.’ The Bible says we get a mansion in heaven.” 

“It’s only fair for you to get to give your sales pitch," they said agreeably. “Listen to us and we’ll listen to you.”

“I won’t buy a timeshare,” I warned. “We don’t even know where we will be living next month. I have to take care of that before I think about timeshares. Besides, I’m a Christian and it would be unethical of me to take your tour just for free tickets.”

“That’s OK,” the man called John Wayne (it was his first and middle name) said. “This is for marketing. You know lots of people. Even if you don’t buy, you could tell others. That would make it worth it.”

“And you know a lot of people too,” I teased. “If you meet Jesus, you could tell a lot of people about Jesus.” This time they gave a big belly laugh.

“When is your husband coming to town?” Alan asked. We checked logistics and the only thing that worked was a helicopter tour.

I must have looked nervous because he said, “They have a perfect safety record.”

“Seriously,” I said, looking at the cost of the helicopter ride. “I’m really not going to buy a timeshare. I should not waste anymore of your time.”

“That’s OK,” John Wayne said. “I make my $40 just for sending you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that? I’m in ministry and I help people. I would take the timeshare tour just to help you make the $40 dollars. I’ll do this but you have to let me tell you about Jesus first.”

They agreed.

It was my turn to talk. Alan had no idea where he would go in the next life. John Wayne said he’d been pretty good and he really hoped he would go to heaven.

“A good choice,” I quipped. “That certainly beats the alternative.” They both laughed again.

“Have you been perfect?” I asked. His answer was a big fat no.

“We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” I whispered. “The wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life. My favorite line in the entire Bible is that all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. Being good will not get you into heaven, but calling on Jesus will.”

I stopped and watched before adding, “The really cool thing about calling on Jesus is that you only need faith the size of a tiny mustard seed to do it. God will fill in the rest.”

John Wayne was under conviction. I could see it in his face. Alan was politely smiling but I knew his answer
John Wayne
was going to be no.

“Can I lead you in a prayer asking God to be your savior? I promise, I’m going to sign up for the timeshare tour whether you say the prayer or not.”

They both laughed again. John Wayne eagerly agreed to pray.

 “Let him pray. I have to watch the store,” Alan said.

“No one is here and you don’t have to close your eyes,” I encouraged.

“I need to watch the store,” he said.

Understanding, I quietly said, “When John Wayne is finished praying, I’ll give you something that has the prayer on. You can look at it later.”

John Wayne reverently repeated the words I asked him to pray. When I said the words “I believe Jesus rose from the dead,” he hesitated slightly and I waited.

Finally, he nodded and slowly repeated the words.

The next line I asked him to pray was, “I believe, help me in my unbelief.”

John Wayne looked up, a little startled. “It’s right from the Bible,” I said. “It is for people like you who believe, but still have some doubt.”

He nodded his approval and gratefully emphasized that part of the prayer.

 “Come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen,” he quietly finished. He looked stunned.

“That is the Holy Spirit you are feeling,” I gently explained.

“I feel good,” he said in wonder.

“I know,” I said.

It was time to fill out the long and complicated forms for touring a timeshare. John Wayne’s hands were trembling so much that I took the paper from him and filled it out, giving way more personal information then I intended to. I remembered the words,Do not love the world, as I envisioned the difficulties of identity theft. At least they didn’t ask for my social security number. When asked for $20 to hold my spot, I hesitated. They assured me it would be refunded if I showed up. I knew it might be a scam but it was worth $20 to give the gospel. I handed them the $20, only wishing I’d had 2 rolls of quarters to give them.

I gave Alan a tract. “We could still do this,” I offered.

“I’ll level with you,” Alan said. “I’ve prayed prayers something like that many times but it didn’t work. I used to teach youth Bible Studies. I just gave it all up.”

“You said prayers like this,” I said. “There is an important line in that prayer that you might not have prayed. It makes all the difference in the world and in eternity. Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Until you do that, Jesus might be a neighbor that you know is good but He isn’t your family.”

“Maybe not,” Alan said, looking almost hopeful. “I will try that tonight.” He took the tract. “You’re a really cool lady.”

Poor Bob. On the way back to the hotel, I called to let him know that part of his romantic weekend was going to include a timeshare tour.

“We’re taking the tour for Jesus,” I said, babbling out the story. “And we’re taking a helicopter tour. They promise it is safe.”

Only my wife…,” was his response. Bob is a good sport.

No, I do not sell timeshares but I do admire a good sales person and these charming men were certainly good. Yes, I admit to be good at giving good news and helping people say yes to it. “Selling” Jesus is easy and I make no apologies for doing it. After all, who doesn’t want a want a free mansion built on streets of gold?

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