Through the courtesy of MovieMinistry.com, we’ll be frequently sharing illustrations from films. Here’s one from the new movie, Secondhand Lions.
The Big Idea:
You can’t reach out to people you don’t know.
Garth and Hub, two elderly brothers, scare traveling salesman away from their home as a form of entertainment. As soon as they pull up in their cars, the brothers pull out their shotguns and the firing commences. As a result, the brothers have never heard a sales pitch, until one day . . .
After scaring away a host of salesmen, another car approaches. Hub and Garth get ready for some fun, but when the car finally stops in front of their porch, the salesman does not leap out. Instead, he cracks his car door, creeps out under their line of site, and begins to wave a white flag, yelling, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot.”
Garth observes, “He’s been here before!”
The salesman calls out, “Brothers McCann!”
Garth says, “This is no ordinary salesman.” And Hub replies, “I like me a challenge.” Hub, still aiming at the salesman, shouts, “Come out where we can see you!”
The salesman is no dummy, “Put down your guns and I’ll come out.”
Hub says, “This guy is good. I’ll cover him, you sneak around.”
Their favorite nephew, Walter, chimes in, “Why don’t you see what he’s selling?”
With the salesman still calling out from behind his car, Hub asks Walter why he should listen to the salesman? Walter replies, “What’s the good of having all that money if you’re never gonna spend it?” Garth agrees, “The kid has a point.” Hub is intrigued, but unmoved, “We’ll see what the man’s sellin’, then we shoot him.”
The salesman, temporarily relieved, starts his pitch, “Due to the unsettling nature of our previous encounters, I took it upon myself to search the world over for that perfect item that would be just right for two exuberant sportsmen such as yourselves. I do believe I found it. Viola!”
Walter asks, “What is it?”
The salesman replies, “That right there is the sport of kings. Up till now only heads of state have been able to afford a fine piece of equipment like that. And it’s so simple to operate, this child could do it.”
Walter hits the lever and launches the skeet. The salesman expertly blows it out of the sky, and continues his pitch, “Most powerful on the market, most reasonably priced, I might add.”
When Hub and Garth’s nuisance relatives complain about the machine, the brothers tell the salesman, “We’ll take it.”
It is common for those who now know the power of the Gospel to forget what it was like before they met Christ. They cannot imagine that anyone would reject what they have to offer. Like the traveling salesmen, they barge right up and start selling.
The final salesman is the effective evangelist. He is persistent – he’s been there before. He has taken the time to get to know the people he wants to reach. One thing for sure, he knows they like guns. Then he searched for the one thing he was sure would catch their attention, and uses it to open a door for dialogue. In the end he closes the sale where all before him have failed.
The Scriptures tell us to be ready in season and out of season, to make the most of our opportunities, and to have our words seasoned with salt. Paul lived out this advice when he spoke on Mars Hill and before King Agrippa. He knew something about the people to whom he spoke so that he would have the best chance of getting a hearing and winning a soul for the Kingdom. He became “all things to all men that by all means” he might “save some” (I Cor 9:22).