After a long day, you finally get to sit down to eat a meal with your family, and RING! Someone wants to sell you something you neither need nor want. Why doesn’t somebody come up with a way to stop those calls??? Well they did…sort of.
Somewhere, out there, there is a list called the “Do Not Call” registry. And on that list are names of people who have said that they don’t want any more telemarketing calls. If your name is on that list, you are supposed to be left alone. But recently, people on the “Do Not Call” list have been getting calls…and they are annoyed!
Turns out, not everyone plays by the rules. And when telemarketing firms don’t respect the registry, they face fines. For example, Sprint, who has been warned in the past about violations, received the uncomplimentary award of being fined the “largest fine in ‘Do No Call’ history,” $7.5 million dollars.
Now, to Sprint, that is a slap on the hand at best. They had $8.9 billion in sales in the first 3 months of this year. And, there can be little doubt, that some of that was due to their aggressive sales tactics. So, they will pay the fine and move on.
But even if $7.5 million isn’t much of a hit to Sprint’s bottom line, the hefty price tag does show that people are getting serious about being left alone. Last week I wrote about the “right to be forgotten” ruling against Google. Now we are seeing the FCC lash out against registry violations.
As I think about these rulings, I can’t help but think of how they will impact the way the church shares its message in the future. After all, I think saving someone’s soul is important enough to knock on a door, call someone, or send them literature. But many in this world find evangelism annoying! They don’t want to receive the call. So what’s a Christian to do?
As hard as it is, we must learn to respect God’s example: He wants all to hear the call, but He allows them to be on the “Don’t Call” list if they choose. “I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer” (Jeremiah 7:13). Jesus longed for people to hear and receive His message, but they would not (John 1:10-13; Luke 13:34-35). Many have been invited, but few will come (Matthew 22:2-6).
What does that mean in practical terms? It means that I want to tell you about the love of God; I want to tell you about the saving blood of Jesus; and I want to tell you about the joys of eternity in heaven. But it also means that when you say, “I don’t want to hear that anymore,” I will respect your right to choose a “no call” status.
I won’t like it. It will be a very sad day for me. And while it might bring you temporary joy that you have gotten rid of that nagging Christian, it may be the worst decision you ever make. But until you say “Don’t Call,” I will gently, with love and grace, try to share the good news of Jesus with you in every way I know how.