Scriptures: Matthew 10:5-23
Cast: Interviewer, Applicant
[The Applicant knocks]
Interviewer: Come in.
Applicant: Hello. I'm here in response to your ad on Craig’s list. It says, "Job Opening: Field representative for a multinational concern. No previous experience necessary." Are you still looking for someone?
Interviewer: Oh yes. We are always looking for people.
Applicant (sitting down by the desk): Good. I would like to give it a try. What's your product line?
Interviewer: Let's just say we deal in securities and long-term investments.
Applicant: Stock and bonds, huh? Well, I don't have a lot of experience in that area, but I'm quick to learn. What are the educational requirements?
Interviewer: We provide on-the-job training.
Applicant: Oh. Well, what other qualifications are you looking for? Must I take some kind of test?
Interviewer: Oh you will be tested, all right, but not by us. We ask only that you be gifted.
Applicant: Gifted? You mean like a talented athlete or musician? Sorry, I am neither.
Interviewer: Has your heart ever gone out to someone having a rough time? Have you ever wanted to do something for someone without expecting anything in return? Have you ever been so excited about something you couldn't wait to tell people?
Applicant: Yes, I guess so.
Interviewer: Then you are gifted.
Applicant: Well, what exactly am I supposed to do?
Interviewer [standing]: Not much really. Heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead--a few things like that.
Applicant: You're kidding, right? Raise the dead? Cast out demons?! I can't even get rid of my warts.
Interviewer: Actually, the Owner does the healing and raising from the dead. You are just the Owner's representative.
Applicant: What exactly do I represent?
Interviewer: You represent hope, fulfillment, new and everlasting life. You are a demonstration model for the power that can transform humanity into a new creation.
Applicant: Me? I'm not a new creation. I'm the same old person I have always been.
Interviewer (chuckling): You won't be if you take this job.
Applicant: Why? What's going to happen to me?
Interviewer: You are about to become part of the biggest enterprise the world has ever seen--bigger than the pyramids, bigger than the invasion of Normandy, bigger than landing a human being on the moon. We're after nothing less than the transformation of the world, and we want you to be part of it. [Sits]
Applicant: You sound like an army recruiter. Is that what this is? Defend your country and see the world?
Interviewer: Not exactly. For one thing you won't be carrying any weapons, and for another you will be sent first to your own home and community.
Applicant [Stands]: Well that's no fun. I was hoping for a little travel. Why don't you open a branch office in some place like Belize or Tahiti? Surely they need field reps, too.
Interviewer: Of course they do. But that's not where you will be sent. If you are going to represent new life, the Owner wants you to start by representing it to the people you already know.
Applicant: What do I tell them?
Interviewer: Don't worry about what to say. The Owner will give you instructions when the time comes.
Applicant: But can't you give me some idea of what I am supposed to say.
Interviewer: Basically your message is that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Applicant: The Kingdom of heaven?! You’ve got to be kidding. You want me to be a salesman for heaven? You don't just sell heaven like a used car. Besides, people aren't interested in heaven any more. People want to know what will make their lives better here and now, not in some "pie-in-the-sky" future.
Interviewer [Standing]: That's just the point. The Kingdom of heaven is at hand! It is beginning right now, like a seed growing in the ground or some yeast causing bread dough to rise. Right now the Kingdom is visible only in glimpses here and there--in the healing of a body, the reconciliation of a relationship, in the unexpected courage to go on through difficult circumstances. All these are signs of heaven's power already at work in our lives, preparing for the day when the Owner's Kingdom will come and the Owner's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Your job is to help people see what is going on.
Applicant: And what if they don't want to see it? What if they want no part of it?
Interviewer (thoughtfully): Unfortunately that is a distinct possibility. The Owner never forces things on people, even if it is for their own good. Some people just don't want to pay the price.
Applicant: What is the price?
Interviewer: Actually nothing. The new life we offer was paid for long ago by the Owner. We give it as a free gift. Unfortunately, for many people it is still too expensive.
Applicant: How can something be too expensive if it is free?
Interviewer: Because of the price one must pay for accepting it. It's like the gift of a pet. The pet is free, but accepting it involves responsibility: feeding it, caring for it, cleaning up after it. The same is true of the new life offered by the Owner. It's free; but accepting it has certain consequences. It means giving up your old self. It means giving up your pride, your independence, your self-centeredness, your control over other people. Not everyone is willing to pay such a price, even for something as good as eternal life.
Applicant: So what do I do if they aren't interested? What if I give them my pitch and they slam the door?
Interviewer (shrugging): Then brush off your shoes and go to the next door. If one person rejects you, try another and another.
Applicant [Sitting]: I don't know. I don't take rejection very well.
Interviewer (laughing): Don't worry. That will be the least of your problems. Not only will people reject you, they will attack you. Some people not only refuse the Owner's gifts, they beat, jail, and execute those who offer them.
Applicant: Great. I hope you provide workman's compensation.
Interviewer: He who would save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for the Owner will find it. [Sits]
Applicant: Yes, well maybe this is a good time to talk about salary. I assume you offer compensation for the risks in this job.
Interviewer: More than you ever dreamed.
Applicant: Good. Then let's get down to specifics. I'd like a base salary in seven figures. Surely this job is at least as important as a football player.
Interviewer: Sorry, we can't do that.
Applicant: So your resources are a little thin, eh? Okay, I'll settle for six figures with bonuses and good benefits.
Applicant: You can't be offering a salary in five figures. What do you think this is? McDonald's?
Interviewer: There is no salary.
Applicant: No salary! Oh, I get it. I'm on commission. Okay, what's my percentage?
Interviewer: Your percentage can be as high as you want, but as you know we don't charge anything for our product.
Applicant: Oh yeah. Well, what am I supposed to live on? My expense account?
Interviewer: The Owner has many ways of supporting people. A few of our representatives work full-time. They are supported by the people they serve. But most of our representatives have other jobs. They work in homes, offices, businesses, schools, hospitals, factories, stores--you name it. But wherever they work they are really our agents, infiltrating their environment with the Good News of new life.
Applicant: You sound less like a business and more like the CIA.
Interviewer [Standing]: You might say that. We are certainly concerned about intelligence, but we are not very good at keeping secrets. Our job is to let out the secret, to let people know that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. But to do that you must have intelligence. The message has to be tailored to each person's situation. Some people need to be confronted; others need to be left alone. Some are looking for intellectual explanations; some for emotional support. Some need to have their pride and self-confidence shaken; others need a renewed sense of confidence and hope. There is no one way to represent the Owner to all people. Each person's needs must be figured out before the Owner's gifts can be shared. That's what makes it fun.
Applicant: I'm sure it's a riot. [Pausing and standing] Okay, let’s see if I’ve got this straight. You want me to offer a free product to people who don't want it or are violently opposed to it. You want me to offer this product first to the people who already know me and are most likely to think I'm nuts. In return I will receive no salary, no commission, no benefits, not even a health club membership--nothing at all except rejection, frustration, and the remote possibility that one day I can say, "I told you so." Is that what you are offering?
Interviewer [Sitting]: I guess that is one way of putting it.
Applicant: Why am I even listening to this?
Interviewer: I don't know. Why are you?
Applicant: Maybe because it is just crazy enough to make sense. A lot of things in the world are crazy. The whole world is crazy. Maybe this job is crazy enough to be sane.
Interviewer: Then you will take it.
Applicant (pause): Oh, why not? It can’t be any worse than the cost-benefit ratio of having children.
Interviewer [Standing]: You won't regret it. This job will take everything you have to offer, and give you more than you put in. Nothing you do for it will ever be forgotten or wasted.
Applicant: You think so, huh? Well, there is one way to find out. [Shakes hands with the interviewer]