Sweeping the Streets

I have a neighbor who likes to sweep. Well, at least from the looks of things he does. The fact is that he sweeps a lot. He lives two doors down from us. Not only is his yard spotless, and his driveway and sidewalk are swept but he sweeps the street in front of his house. We noticed that when we first moved in, he would sweep in front of his house, then sweep in front of our next door neighbors house and then he drew a line with his broom at our property line and that is where he stopped. No further. We heard from the neighbors that he didn’t like the people that lived in our house before us. In fact we heard lots of things from the neighbors about him and we watched a lot. Other than sweeping or raking, we saw little of him.

Years ago, I worked for a former car sales man. And this guy wasn’t just your average car sales man. Mr Martin had owned a dealership that was hugely successful. He was one of the first Mercedes-Benz dealers in the USA but he didn’t stock the car. If you wanted one, you would order one and the built it just for you. When the car was finished he would lead a tour to the factory in Germany and you would pick up your car there, drive it around Europe to see the sights and then drop it off at the docks to have it shipped back to your home. It wasn’t something that happened overnight but it was hugely successful.

As his business grew, so did his pride till a series of events began to drive him back to God. Soon he had sold his business and was when I met him, he was selling lifestyle change. And he was a changed man.

One of his favorite quotes was this:

“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.'” (Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, p 143)

And he used to tell me how Christ used the same methods to gain success as a sales man uses to sell a car. And then he would recite the Five Steps of a Sale. (from Dale Carnegie).

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Conviction
  • Desire
  • Close

He knew them like the back of his hand. In fact, it was nearly on the back of his hand because he used his fingers to remember them.

It’s true. They are nearly the same:

  • Attention: “The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good.” He got there attention.
  • Interest: “He showed His sympathy for them” He showed genuine interest in them.
  • Conviction: “ministered to their needs.” He brought them to conviction by ministering to their needs.
  • Desire: “won their confidence.” He brought them to desire by winning their confidence.
  • Close: “Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.'” Then he sealed the deal.

Wow… this is what life comes down to it. Where the rubber meets the road. I certainly want me life to be a reflection of that. A reflection of Him.

Six years have gone by and the neighbor still sweeps the street. I’ve never seen the point of sweeping the street but I’ve started doing it myself. However it’s not always convenient and I don’t always make it out there. But I try and it’s the only chance I get to talk to the neighbor.

He no longer sweeps the “line in the dirt” when he reaches our property. He usually sweeps all of our section of street too.

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