“Trumble here,” Max answered on the first ring.
“Hey, bud,” Olivia’s friendly voice almost, but not quite, picked up his spirits. “How’s the presentation coming?”
“Don’t ask. Okay, ask. It’s awful.” Max knew his voice carried the frustration and hopelessness he felt. But he couldn’t help it.
“Tell me,” Olivia encouraged.
“The presentation’s ready, I guess. It’s all printed out and I’ve been staring at it on and off for hours. But I’m not ready. Do you know how that group is going to respond? No matter how I present it, they’re gonna have my head!”
“It’s not so bad, Max. People understand the realities of business these days. And what you’re offering them is a good deal. How many other businesses would just fold, and let the employees fend for themselves?”
“But Liv, even my own staff is rebelling. Everybody.”
“Not everybody, Max. I’m with you, and so’s George and Melissa. And Melissa’s been talking to her staff, and most of them understand the necessity of cutting hours so people can keep their jobs. It’s not an easy thing, for anybody. But you’re doing the best you can with the worst of situations. They’ll recognize that.”
“Huh. You know people will only hear what they want to hear,” Max groused. “You could offer to lay them off with six month’s pay, and somebody would hear that they’re all getting fired. Ya just can’t determine what people hear, regardless of what is really said.”
“Yeah, I hear you,” Olivia chuckled. Max grinned in spite of himself.
“I really do know what you’re saying,” Olivia continued. “I run into the same thing all the time.”
“Yeah, how’s that?”
“Max, you know how I’m always talking to you about Jesus, how His free gift is available to anyone who believes. And you know how you always respond?” She allowed her words to sink into the silence that followed, giving Max a chance to really think about that.
“Yeah, I always say I’m working on it, or some silly thing like that.”
“And I always say, you can’t work on it. It’s already been worked on. All you have to do is believe what Jesus did, and accept His sacrifice in your place. So that God sees you as righteous. No work involved on your part. And what is it you hear when I tell you that?”
“Well, honestly, I guess I can’t believe it’s that easy, or that anyone would sacrifice his life for me. So I interpret what you say as a good thought for good people, but it applies to others, not me.”
“See, that’s how you heard it. In fact the Bible talks about people who hear the good news of Christ, the seed is sown in their hearts, but their heart isn’t ready to receive the seed, so it gets blown away, or the birds eat it; but it doesn’t grow. That’s you, Max. So I do understand what you’re saying. People will hear what they want to hear. It’s up to them to do with it what they will. They’ll either translate it into something meaningful and good, or reject it as so much wishful thinking.”
“So I can put all my heart and soul into the presentation, knowing that what I’m doing is the best thing for the employees, but I have to realize that some will get it, and some just won’t.”
“Can’t convince everybody, Max. Even when I know the Holy Spirit is working in someone’s heart while I’m sharing Christ with them, people still reject the message. People just hear what they want to hear.”
“You know, Olivia, I think I have some more thinking to do.”
“About your presentation?”
“No—about Christ. Thanks my friend.”
Based on Matthew 13:18-22
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