Reflections for the inner life.
Recently, I was contacted by a marketing company inviting me to host my own radio show to reach a global audience. What ensued was a well-designed invitation for me to make a small investment of $7,000 into my own training and marketing of the first pilot season of the radio show. They would even train me and help produce the show!
This was my Facebook post that day:
This talent scout established a relaxed and friendly phone posture while inserting flatteries along the way, each of them subtly targeting my human desire to do and be something great.
Since the phone call, I've been wondering what allowed me to remain on the phone line so long. To be honest, it's a little embarrassing to admit that part of me was captivated by his invitation. Normally I would have just hung up.
The timing of the call was well placed in my life. I've wondered how the talent scout might have known that my ego was hungry for affirmation that day.
Could there be more going on here than just a cold call from a salesman in disguise as a "talent scout?"
Matthew's gospel records Jesus experiencing a similar interaction with a "talent scout" tempting him with greatness. The tone of the voice of the tempter in Matthew's narrative feels awfully familiar to the talent scout. "The devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain, and from there showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their magnificence."
The Tempter suggests to Jesus that greatness is found in the spectacular. He even offers three avenues to "go big or go home." Jesus isn't having that though.
Over and over again, the talent scout I spoke with on the phone kept repeating one key phrase to me. "Trust me. You'll thank me one day." It was his invitation to "trust him" that actually helped me turn the corner. Trust is not something you can demand from me. It is the fruit of an enduring healthy human connection with someone. The people I trust have never told me to trust them. They simply lived their lives in front me in such a way that they earned and sustained my trust over time.
The tempter made a very similar offer to Jesus while overlooking the kingdom below. “Everything there I will give you,” he said to him, “if you will fall down and worship me.” Like the talent scout, the tempter simply says, "Trust me."
Once again, the "if...then" here feels so familiar and similar to my phone call.
Three invitations from the tempter are followed by three relationally grounded responses from Jesus. Over and over, Jesus leans on his intimate local connection to the Father to resist his tempter. Jesus has a depth of history with his Heavenly Father. His Father can be trusted, Eternity has already proven this and Jesus is not about to sell out.
Away with you!” replied Jesus to the tempter.
We all need local voices in our lives who help keep us grounded when a tempter or talent scout targets us. Radio shows are not evil. Expanding influence is not evil either. Selling our souls to the illusion of "bigger is better" would be. First to yourself and then to your local community.
Here are a few "local voices" in my life who were kind enough to speak up...