This blog is contributed by an OPEN worker, serving in the Arab world.
The painting above, is the result of a marketing survey, which asked people “What would be included in an ideal painting?” The most popular answers were; George Washington, deer, mountains, trees, a family, and clouds, so the artist created the above image.
The idea was to show that sometimes marketing surveys ask tons of questions in such a way that they can’t possibly understand their customers’ needs from the answers they receive. It’s funny how many things could be in an ideal painting, yet when all of them are put together it makes for a goofy picture, one that nobody would really purchase to hang over their mantle.
Sometimes we try too hard. We try too hard to be something or someone, we are not. At times we try to know a certain subject or understand something new, when that’s not who God intends us to be. Yet when we try too hard, especially of our own devices, we end up looking like this hodge-podge painting that attempts to be jack-of-all-trades but master of none.
This story has many implications. For business, we must know our customers, our market niche. We can’t chase every opportunity that comes along to make money. We need to know our target market. We should focus on what we do best and leave other services or products for other companies. We need to know what our customers want and give them that. We don’t need to sell George Washington, deer, clouds, mountains, families, etc.
When it comes to relationships with others, we need to know who we are. What is your identity? How do you view yourself? Is your identity found in what you do (your job) or is it found in being known by the Most High? Godliness requires we understand who we are in view of a holy, loving God. We will not be effective in reaching the unreached if we can’t even figure out who we are. If our friends value George Washington and shouldn’t try to become George Washington to please them. And if we think that the speaker at a conference is terrific, like the mountains/deer/family/grass, that doesn’t mean we need to become like the mountains/deer/ family/grass to be like him. Each of us is designed uniquely by God with gifts given by Him that we use to present back to Him for His glory (Psalm 139 is a beautiful picture of this).
When Paul said that he became all things to all people in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, he had the prerequisite mastered first. He said that he was free from all. We are not free if we are trying still to be cool – to please men. (Galatians 1:10) We are not free if we are trying to impress our boss or our parents or our co-workers. Paul was already free from all that. He became all things to all people, so that he might save some. He was already others-focused when he decided to become a servant to all. (1 Corinthians 9:19)
So instead of trying to be like the ideal painting, which is an example of both a bad marketing survey and a botched attempt to create something beautiful, let’s be first servants of the Most High God. After we understand who we are in Him, we will be free to become servants to our neighbors, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc. so that we might save some.