Don’t Sell Them a Lantern
January 29, 2013 by ddkaarre
Story of the Day for Tuesday January 29, 2013
Don’t Sell Them a Lantern
Jesus sent messengers on ahead to go into a Samaritan village to prepare for his stay. But the Samaritans would not welcome him because his destination was Jerusalem.
In the late 1800s, a young William C. Coleman got a job selling typewriters. He left his home in Kansas on a sales trip to Alabama, and noticed a stunningly bright lamp shining in a store window. He discovered that, while lanterns used kerosene for fuel, a company from Memphis, Tennessee used gasoline instead.
Coleman quit selling typewriters and began selling gas lanterns. The lantern company owner offered Coleman both their patent and franchise, so he quickly scrambled together enough money to buy the company.
In 1900, he took his business west and set up shop in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. But he was crushed to discover that no one wanted to buy his lanterns. Another company had already been in the area selling an inefficient brand of gas lantern. Repeatedly, he heard the same story: “Don’t try to sell me one of those. Already bought one. They don’t work; they won’t be lit.” Everyone had gone back to their dim, but reliable, kerosene lamps.
C. A. Roberts, in his book, A Life Worth Living, relates how the discouraged young salesman returned to his dark hotel room. He could see people in the store across the street, which was dimly lit by three kerosene lamps.
Then the insight hit him: “I’ll stop selling lamps and start selling light!”
He raced across the street to see the storeowner, who reminded him he wasn’t interested in his gas lanterns. But Coleman told him he wasn’t selling lanterns; he was selling light. “You pay me to light your store. If the lamps don’t work, that’s my problem.” He didn’t ask the storeowner to pay for the lantern – only the light.
Customers loved the idea, and soon he was servicing customers as far away as San Diego. William soon became wealthy as the founder of the Coleman Lantern Company.
You can hardly imagine hatred more intense than that between the Israelites and the Samaritans. Galileans traveling south to Jerusalem would cross the Jordan River and make a loop around Samaria, rather than travel through it.
Jesus, however, loved Samaritans. He offered an immoral Samaritan woman the water of life. We still speak today of being a “Good Samaritan” based on the story Jesus told to a Jewish lawyer.
As he began his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus ignored the circuitous road and traveled straight south from Galilee to Jerusalem. When Samaritans learned he was heading for Jerusalem, however, they refused to show him any hospitality.
Jesus didn’t get angry. He understood. The Samaritans, like many you know, have been deeply hurt and mistreated by others in the name of religion.
Usually, the first thing they need is not a sermon, but a listening ear. And don’t try to sell them a lantern. Let them see, instead, the brightness of the Light.
(text copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)
(photo credit: http://images.drillspot.com/pimages/1404/140407_300.jpg)