Alright, I am fed up with bartering! Actually, I’m not really fed up with bartering itself, but I am really sick and tired of the peddlers! They are like piranha! When we stepped out next to the Pyramids, about thirty piranha came running towards us, trying to shove things into our hands and take our money. It got so bad that our tour guide couldn’t talk to us, so he yelled, “Everyone, back on the bus!” We made a break for the bus, but they followed us, some of them reaching up through the door to try to sell us things through the door.
They were just as bad at the Sphinx, trying to take pictures for us and then demand tips for taking our picture. They would jump into pictures randomly when you didn’t want them to, and then ask for money. That made NO sense to me: you jump into a picture with us without us wanting you to, then expect us to pay you for taking your picture? Um…. Heck no, techno! That doesn’t get anywhere close to logic!
Luxor is just as bad, they are just more calm and subdued. They may not be as loud and boisterous as Cairo, but the piranhas here are just as pushy. One of piranha singled out one of our group members and followed her around for nearly a half hour trying to get her to buy stuff from him. No matter how hard she tried to get away, he just kept advancing. Finally, it took a few of us to intervene and get her out of there. We formed a little barricade around her to prevent anyone from talking to her.
I’ve discovered I have become very proficient at saying, “No!” Piranha come at me and start to motion towards me to and put stuff in my hands and I look them in the eye and say, “No!” boldly and assertively, but not aggressively or rudely. Most people leave me alone.
Last night it just got out of hand. Deanna and I just wanted to walk around Luxor and look at stuff and take pictures, but EVERYWHERE we went, people singled us out and followed us for blocks, trying to get us to buy things. To me, that just discouraged me more from wanting to buy something from them. Several piranha with horse and buggies stopped on the street, hopped off, and told us they would takes us for a ride in their “Ferraris” for a small price. We couldn’t get away from them, and they tried to get us to promise them we would come back and ride. Sometimes they would grab my hand and guide me to their carriage, where I would jerk away and turn my back and ignore them.
After our fourth encounter, Deanna and I had to resort to giving them false information to get them away from us. I HATED having to lie to get them away, but they would just not listen. They were so wrapped up in trying to make a deal that they were actually pushing people away and making us despise them.
Two thoughts ran through my mind:
1) 1) Yes, I do understand these people need to make a living, so this is why I am patient with them. But how many times do we just judge people in this circumstance and look down on them? Am I guilty of that sometimes?
2) 2) Have some of us Christians become like the piranha?
Christianity is very much like a business: we are trying to pitch our product to a customer to get them to buy it. Now before you get onto me about how Jesus is so much more than a simple product and that I am just watering down the Gospel to a bookmark or figurine; psychologically, the business sale and sharing the Gospel is exactly the same. I don’t care how "Spirit-filled" you are as a Christian, if you pitch Jesus Christ to people like these piranha pitch their services or products to me: one, I don’t believe you truly understand what the Gospel is, and two, you will just turn more people away from Christ.
The major difference between marketing Christ and sharing Christ is the Holy Spirit at work. When the Holy Spirit is working, then we see results and lives changed. I think there are a few well-meaning Christians who market Christ rather than share Christ. We should believe in our “product” enough to want to share it with others, so much so that sometimes we may seem desperate with people or may plead with them to see the Truth.
However, we must also not push Christ onto other people; that will push them AWAY from Christ. So many times we just push and push and push and push and push Christ onto people because we believe they need to accept Him, but every push we make is actually a push away. It is important to remember to pray and let the Spirit guide you at the opportune time and not just throw Jesus at them every time you meet them in every conversation like He is a vacuum cleaner they need to buy to clean all the dirt in their house.
I am passionate about this topic because I have several friends who want to know and love God, but have been so turned off by Christians and the church. My friends just feel oppressed by the weight of “so much Jesus”. After talking with a few of them, they have shared with me that they know they are a “sinner” and they know they have screwed up, but they just don’t want to accept Christ because they feel they will become like those crazy people who always carry around the Bible and bring Jesus up in every conversation in some guilt-trip kind of way. (For example: John Somebody: “I am really feeling sore after that work out, I don’t know if I will be able to move tomorrow.” Mark McPreacher: “Oh, that is nothing compared to the torture Jesus had to go through! Do you know all of the stuff he went through for you? Can I tell you about how much He suffered because of all our sins?” Jesus Juke. Conversation dead.) Even Gandhi himself said, "I would have been a Christian if I had never met any."
Anyway, you get the point. I am tired of these piranhas. I hope tomorrow offers us some relief. What about you? Have you ever been peddled or swindled over into a bad deal? Have you run into any of those Christians who bring Jesus into every conversation? Tell me about some of your stories. I would love to hear them.
Following His Call,
2 Timothy 4:2