Thursday, June 10, 2010

We're Just Selling the Wrong Thing

The following is a write up from when David Spickard, CEO Jobs for Life, came and visited one of our S.O.A.R. Jobs for Life classes.  I remember this particular class very well as it was one of my favorites so far:

We're Just Selling the Wrong Thing 
June 09, 2010 
David Spickard, CEO Jobs for Life
Recently, I visited a Jobs for Life class and listened to the conversation as the students and champions discussed the Parable of the Talents.  In the story, Jesus describes a man who entrusts his servants with talents.  To one, he gives five, another three, and another one.  The story goes on to describe how each servant used the talents he was given.

As the students discussed the story, they began to uncover the talents they've been given and the way they have used those talents.  This particular class is part of a city effort to reduce gang violence and the students are young men mostly 18-25 years old with prison records and a history of gang involvement. 

The discussion became more and more animated until one student raised his hand.  When he began to speak, you could hear a pin drop.

He said, "You know God has given us so many talents.  I bet you everyone in this room knows how to be a great salesperson.  We target our market, know our product, we're great communicators, and we work extremely hard.  After all, we stand out on the street corner selling all day...We're just selling the wrong thing."

The silence was then interrupted by laughter, everyone realizing his point and wondering what it meant for them.

Sitting there listening, I was struck by the laughter.  Why is that funny?  How could standing on the street corner selling drugs all day be something to laugh at?  I then realized what is painfully true...Selling drugs for this group is as ordinary and normal as it is for me to get up and go to work at Jobs for Life each day.  It's the industry of the community, their way to make a living, feel valued, and create a legacy.
The conversation continued.  One after the other began to build on the idea that God created them with unique gifts and talents and He meant for them to use them for good, not evil.  One talked about making a brighter future for his kids, another talked about wanting to be a positive influence in his community, still another talked about the dreams he had to own his own business.  

As they spoke, I thought to myself, "I wish every businessperson in this city could hear this conversation."  These men are gifted, they're talented, and they desire good, not evil.  They would be a tremendous asset to anyone who hired them.

Who knows what they'll be selling then?