In sales, the way to gain new clients or customers is to do what they call “prospecting.” The word is derived from the old frontier days when fortune hunters went panning for gold. They dreamed of finding gold and striking it rich. They were willing to overlook the drudgery of labor and painstaking disappointment that came along with their dream just to find that one nugget which would turn their lives around.
Sales is similar to prospecting. You go out looking for prospects—potential persons who will buy your product. Some of these prospects might even be qualified to join your company or organization. You can see in them the ability to help provide an even greater opportunity for not only increasing your income but theirs, as well. Your vision or goal is be successful and help others to be successful, too. Not only that, it is your belief that what you and your company have to offer to your clients or customers will benefit them, too. Therefore, everyone has something to gain.
In similar fashion, Christianity is also about prospecting and gaining prospects. Of course, I am not talking about prospects in terms of material riches like gold or money but spiritual riches like the Bible describes. You can get an idea of what these spiritual riches are as you consider the standard definition of “prospect.”
According to Oxford Dictionaries, the noun “prospect” means 1. the possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring (syn., likelihood, hope, expectation, anticipation); 2. a person regarded as likely to succeed or as a potential customer, client, etc. (syn., candidate, possibility); 3. an extensive view of landscape (syn., view, outlook, perspective).
Let’s look at the first meaning. You want to know the “prospects” of your future. What’s your perspective on your future prospects? Are they hopeful, optimistic, encouraging? Or, are they just the opposite—hopeless, pessimistic, discouraging? If you are a Christian, your “prospects” ought to be the former. It’s been stated, “Optimism doesn’t wait on facts. It deals with prospects. Pessimism is a waste of time.” (SermonCentral)
One who is in Christ is always striving to prospect on the positive as the Apostle Paul who, himself, faced many challenges to his ministry. Was the apostle going to give up his goals toward achieving success for himself and other believers? His reply: “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:37-39, New Living Translation, NLT).
This gets us to the second meaning of “prospect.” While the gold miners looked for “gold in them thar hills,” God is prospecting for believers over every hill and dale the world over. Each one of us who accepts Jesus Christ through faith, repentance, and baptism and pursues a Spirit-led life is a part of God’s riches. In fact, we are his spiritual treasure in clay vessels, according to the Apostle Paul in Second Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not ourselves,” (New American Standard Version, NASB).
An important role of believers who are already God’s prospects is to go out and gain more prospects no matter the cost. Paul spoke of the dedication of those, like himself, who went out prospecting for lost souls in need of salvation in Christ. In fact, it was rough, risky business but they were not ashamed or afraid to carry the message of hope to all who would listen: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested [revealed] in our body,” (2 Cor. 4:8-10, NASB).
As God’s prospects, we prospect for him with the same dedication and willingness to sacrifice as the Apostle Paul. For we know the glory that is to come; the golden opportunity that lies ahead. The apostle goes on to conclude, “Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light after affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal,” (vss. 16-18, NASB).
So we now come to the third meaning of “prospect.” We get a better view of the “landscape” when we envision what’s in store for us. Our prospects for the future are brighter than any of us can imagine: everlasting life, no more sickness or pain; ruling with Christ along with other immortal believers over all the ages in his kingdom, inheriting the earth in all his beauty and harmony, and so much more. First Corinthians 2:9 declares, “That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him,'” (NLT).
So, with that vision, in mind we keep on persevering through faith and devotion to the Lord and his Word. Indeed, we are like “the wrestler who never gave up.” Pastor Larry Semore shares this inspiring story about a young aspiring wrestler named Caleb:
Caleb teaches us to never give up on God or His promises.
One of my favorite stories is about a scrawny kid from West Texas who attended a small high school. They didn’t have a wrestling program, but he read a book on wrestling and asked one of the assistant football coaches if he would enter him in some of the wrestling matches in that region.
The coach agreed to help the kid. This little guy was neither strong nor skillful, but he had one enduring quality—he refused to give up. He won every single wrestling match because he tenaciously held on to his opponents and wore them down.
By the end of the season, he was undefeated and made it to the state finals for his weight classification. The kid’s opponent was a two-time state champ and a bona fide college prospect. As the scrawny kid faced the state champion, the guy made a couple of quick moves, and soon had the West Texas kid on his back and about to get pinned.
The coach knew his athlete was about to lose, and he couldn’t bear to watch it, so he turned his head away. Suddenly, the coach heard the roar of the crowd and when he turned around, his kid was on top of the state champ, pinning him. He had won the match!
The little guy bounced across the mat and hugged the coach and said, “Coach, I won! I won!”
The coach said, “Sure, son. But I missed it. I turned away just before you were about to lose. What happened?”
The kid said, “Coach, that guy was good. He had me twisted like a pretzel on that mat. But you know me, coach. I NEVER quit. I refused to give up! So I opened my eyes, and there in front of my face was a big toe. I don’t even know if it’s against the rules or not, but I bit into that big toe with all my strength…and coach, it’s amazing what you can do when you bite your OWN toe!”
If you’re ever tempted to give up on God and his promises, just remember that little guy. Take a grip on the promises of God and never release them—God honors persistence.
(SermonCentral, From a sermon by Larry Semore, “The Spirit of Expectancy – Part 3 – Caleb,” 6/15/2011)
As God’s prospects, we strive to persist, as well. In spite of our weaknesses and imperfections, there’s always a nugget of truth we can learn and apply if we have the desire to dig for it. For though we might be down for the moment, like that young wrestler, we are not out as far as our prospects are concerned. Our eyes are on the kingdom of God. And that’s a prospect’s proper perspective. http://youtu.be/L9GhCVj2YY8
Good News to YOU!