It’s been nearly four years since I first landed in the world of marketing, first as I worked on building Give A Brick, and then through various business iterations.
Ask any business owner the one piece of advice they hear the most often and they’ll probably say something about persistence and stickability.
This is good advice of course but it doesn’t have much practical application, beyond showing up each day, doing the work and not giving up.
What would be the most practical advice they were given do you think?
How about: Pick a niche. Be specific. Focus on serving one customer with one specific need before expanding that service to a wider client base.
And the idea I’ve been playing with for nearly a week is that Jesus totally ignored that advice. He’s allowed to of course. I just found it fascinating to think that some messages, like love, could be universal.
You can’t argue with a need for love so maybe that’s why it’s ok that he didn’t pick a niche. That and being the son of God and all. You might call it a bit of an unfair advantage 😉
I was ready to write a whole piece on how love doesn’t need a niche etc. etc.
But what if I’m wrong?
Because as I wrote that sentence above about serving one customer before expanding, it suddenly occurred to me … isn’t that exactly what Jesus did? God too in fact.
From the very beginning of the bible, the story centres on one small part of the world and one very specific people group.
Jesus too spoke to a community who grew up as a part of that specific group. Sure, there are notable exceptions, like the Roman centurion who asked Jesus to perform long-distance healing, but for the most part, Jesus had his niche and he stuck to it.
That’s not to suggest that he didn’t have a wider remit.
Way back in the Old Testament, there’s a conversation about how working with just the Jews wasn’t enough for Jesus. But at the point where it all started, when the plan was put into action, Jesus had a very clear and specific target market.
It was only much later, when Peter had that vision about the different types of animals he could eat, that God’s original plan to love on everyone became clear.
So what does that mean for you and me?
Other than to make us smile to think that God loves us so much, he had it all planned out way back when, the real message here is that it’s OK to just love on the people around you.
You might have this overwhelming burning desire to love on the world, to be a walking, talking, practical example of God’s love, to un-write all the wrongs of the past. And that’s wonderful! And inspiring. And good on you 🙂
But you don’t have to love on the whole world right now, today.
You can start with the very next person you come into contact with – whether that be face to face or on the phone or via email, Facebook or Twitter.
You don’t love on the whole world by loving on the whole world. You love on the whole world, one person at a time.
And sure, it’ll take longer than if you had the whole world on iMessage and could send a group text, but have you ever wondered why there are so many names in the bible? People matter to God.
Individuals, one at a time, are important to God.
And if it’s good enough for him, I reckon it’s good enough for us too 😉
And so our challenge today is to love, one person at a time, even when it’s messy and hard going and tests our patience.
And remember, you don’t have to do it alone.
We love because God loved first so don’t forget to get him in on the act. Ask him to help you, to keep helping you.
Are you ready? Let’s go!