Upside Down or Right side Up?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted here. I tried to write a few times, but nothing really came up to write about. 

Until I looked back on the time.

Without going into the long and boring details, I realised something about this World.

It’s upside down.

Completely.

I currently am employed in a call center environment. The call center is “Customer Service” technically. In that I interact with customers I guess you could describe it as such.

We are assessed in our performance through a sample of our calls being evaluated over the course of the month, and on feedback from client satisfaction surveys. It all makes sense until you look under the surface.

We are encouraged to keep interactions short. Long calls are discouraged as being a lesser form of customer service. Keep it short, avoid small talk and get to the next call quickly.

I worked for a different organisation a few years ago. Their attitude was the opposite. It was an easier environment to function in. In fact I’ve worked in the general industry for over 20 years in one way or another. The place I miss most was a Church in South Devon. As part of my “work” there I met people, chatted to them about issues they had with the way things were in the church itself, and issues affecting their lives. Sometimes I’d spend an entire morning talking to just one person. Sometimes it would be several. But time was never an issue.

Don’t misunderstand me. I understand the needs and differences between a local church and a national organisation, and that the service needs are different. I’d be very worried if the clients I deal with daily were just calling to say “hi” and chat about their day. But there needs to be recognition of humanity as well as efficiency.

There was an audit recently of our company. The Head Office wanted to make sure standards were being met by our managers. These standards included how forms are filled out, how many calls agents are handling efficiently (read “quickly” there). The thrust on the managers is first contact solutions for issues. The thrust on agents is speed. in my experience, these can often be antithetical concepts.

For over 20 years I’ve focussed on solving issues first time. And I was good at it. Taking my time is something that enables me to give the highest level of service. And I put myself into the contact, empathy not sympathy has to drive me.

But that’s me. What about God?

God takes His time. He created seasons for a purpose. There needs to be a time for all things as recorded in Ecclesiastes.

Jesus took His time teaching the disciples and the people of the day what God’s way was. He was never hurried. In fact, He often was deliberately cryptic to prolong an interaction with people. He was God incarnate and yet He empathised with the prostitute at Simon the Pharisee’s home. He made sure 5000 men plus the women and children with them had enough food rather than sending them away. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and Martha bustled around, and Mary was praised.

Through the entire scripture we witness God chastising His people for majoring in the minor things of life. Provision of manna in the desert, a scrawny shepherd defeating a giant of a man because he knew His God and the Covenant he had. Then grumblings when Moses was too long up the mountain led to the golden calf, David staying home in his palace at the time Kings go to war resulting in the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. Majoring in the minor, even by the great men of the old and new testament, resulted in God chastising them out of Love.

The World system today emphasises things that are ultimately of no consequence and minimises the things that matter. Magazine headline articles glorifying why it was the right thing to do for the celebrity couple to divorce because he saw a younger woman and decided he’d look “better” with her. There’s no emphasis on commitment. Marriages fail. It doesn’t work, the “proof” in the statistics says that 40% of marriages end in divorce. Whilst shocking, doesn’t that mean 60% don’t? And how many of the 40% that fail are consisting of people in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th try? Perhaps the people divorcing just don’t know Love, real Love is a choice, not an emotion. Emotional Love didn’t take Jesus to the Cross for us. Emotional love cannot sustain a marriage when the storms hit.

Jesus was the first Customer Relationship Manager. He dismissed the managers who focussed on the little stuff – the Pharisees. He focussed on the major things. He did it Right Side Up.

This world is upside-down. We’ve allowed ourselves to glorify the minor and ignore the major issues. Most people will never reach their full potential because it isn’t valued by them. They are taught to kill their own desires for the sake of trimming time, not just in a call-center, but in everything. We are bombarded with “time-saving” devices. Jesus showed that we can’t actually “save” time. We can live or not. It’s up to us.

“All men die Angus, but not all truly Live” says William Wallace in “Braveheart”

Living involves making our priorities right. I would die for my family, friends or my Faith. There isn’t anything any employer could do to persuade me to die for the company, but most companies expect us to surrender our off-time to them instead of spending quality time with family, friends. They call it “team building” or some other term to make it sound important. It isn’t. I like most of the people I work with, but there’s only a handful I would describe as friends the way Jesus used the word. I’ll do anything to help them because they are real relationships based on shared hopes, dreams and Faith (mostly). My Best friend works in my office. I’d go almost as far for her as I would for my wife to help her. God guides me and gives me the strength to be a support to her, and vice-versa. The friendship has a solid foundation based on the truly important things.

It’s time for the Church to wake up and turn this world right side up again. 2000 years ago Jesus did it with 12 close friends and around 120 followers. Why not do it again now?

Ultimately it’s our choice. Change is painful, but if the caterpiller doesn’t spin the cocoon it never becomes a butterfly.

Upside down or right way up? Live life to the full or live as an oxygen thief?

You choose.

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