This is something I just read from Seth Godin in Linchpin. This is by no means a derogative statement about day laborers. However, it illustrates a great point about how the world often views us (the church).
Tough Times in Queens Hector has it rough. Rougher than most. Every morning, he stands on a street corner in Queens, next to the hardware store and across the street from the Thai restaurant. Hector stands next to his six biggest competitors, waiting for work. Slowly, a pickup truck pulls up. The contractor behind the wheel is looking for workers, day laborers. He knows that every morning, they’ll be on this corner, waiting for him. He rolls down the window and offers minimum wage. Which is a lot for this kind of work. All the workers seem the same. They’re bundled up against the cold, and they’re willing to work cheap. So he picks three and drives away. Hector is left on the corner, in the cold. Maybe someone else will come by today. Maybe not. He’s one of many, a fungible product, a nonchoice. The contractor didn’t expend any time or effort on his choice because it didn’t really matter. He needed cheap physical labor and he got it. He needed obedient workers able to follow simple instructions, and here they were. And Hector got nothing. Hector went home, as he often does, with nothing. Your Street Corner We don’t want Hector’s story to resonate with us, because it’s disturbing. Every business is a lot like Hector. Every business stands next to plenty of other businesses, each striving to be like the other, but maybe a little better. Every business waits for the next customer to come and pick their company. And of course, sometimes a prospect does pick a particular business. She recognizes it or trusts it or it comes with a recommendation. But more and more (and most of the time), she does precisely what the contractor in Queens did. She picks the cheap one. They’re all the same. And you? Your résumé sits in a stack next to plenty of other résumés, each striving to fit in and meet the requirements. Your cubicle is next to the other cubes, each like the other. Your business card and suit and approach to problems—all designed to fit in. You keep your head down and you work hard and you hope you get picked. Sounds a lot like Hector. This is uncomfortable, but it’s true. The people you’re hoping will hire you, buy from you, support you, and interact with you have more choices and less time than ever before.
Our church is not Hector! Our youth ministry is not Hector! We are not one of a hundred people on a street corner that provides a product. So many people drive by our church and assumes we are just one in the crowd. I am motivated to work hardier at helping the community “Discover the Difference” at Vision Baptist Church!