Reading the newspaper was a daily ritual growing up. Dad picked the front page first, mom got the local, and I went for the comics. Then we’d shift around. I’ve always liked papers, and even wrote a weekly column for several years for our local news rag. BUT. I’m likely to end a decades-long habit. We had a fine local paper, then we moved away for a job before moving back into our previous house.
Things changed. Our local paper got bought out by a countywide paper, and the local news disappeared. Oh, we hear just about everything going on in Redlands, nearly 60 miles away, but not much from Temecula. Even my morning habit of reading the paper with coffee and breakfast has taken a hit, with spotty delivery. Each of the last four weekends has seen the paper late. Quite late. One Sunday paper didn’t arrive until Wednesday.
Yes, I’ve graciously shared my concerns on both issues. Repeatedly. To the publisher, to the editor, to the circulation manager and almost anyone listed on their masthead. They’ve promised more local news—they’ve promised better delivery, but…They even gave me three free months to keep me around. Despite the availability of online news, I prefer good local news in a format that gets my fingers black.
I suspect they want to kill the paper. I have no idea why, but I’m tired of listening to “Walking in Memphis,” and only that, while interminably on hold for Customer Service. They just can’t seem to deliver the goods, and with those free months about to run out, I’m not sure I’ll continue. They seem to not care for their customers, and their customers are abandoning them.
So I wonder, do we in the church “deliver the goods?” Could that be why so many abandon faith and the church?
Do we not meet their valid expectations of how a Christian should live? OK, we’re imperfect, we’re human, and we fail. But maybe we could deliver more goods that we now do. Some brief tips on coming through.
1. Respect and care for all. The cliché, “People won’t care how much you know until
they now how much you care” matches the Bible, “Give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
2. Be agreeable, especially when you disagree. We need this to demonstrate our respect and care, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient” (2 Timothy 2:24, NLT). Now, do our Facebook engagements demonstrate this? Let’s deliver God’s goods here.
3. Serve others as an antidote to self-centeredness, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Our actions prove our respect and care for them, so balance meeting our needs and others.
4. Keep your word. If you agree to deliver a paper by 7 AM, do it! Or whatever you say you’ll do, do. You’ll earn respect, “First, help me never to tell a lie” (Proverbs 30:8).
Maybe, by delivering God’s goods, we can change people’s perceptions of faith. Worth a shot anyway.
Kick Starting the Application
Look at the list above—which do you least deliver in. Why? What can you do this week to make good changes? Can you think of a time when you did deliver and saw a benefit. What best made that work?