Today I spent some time at my children’s school volunteering for an unusual postion. You see, Friday our school hosts its annual raffle fundraiser. We sell 300 tickets for $100 each. There are 17 prizes ranging from $500 up to $10,000. It’s a well-known event within our school community and part of a larger Visiting Day celebration. The raffle is Friday and as of this morning we still needed to sell 125 tickets. So a few volunteers and I basically worked the door asking each family that came in to drop their loves off or came to pick their loves up one simple questions, “Have you bought your raffle ticket?” No matter the response, we were cheerful and provided no pressure for purchase. We only wanted to remind them in an upbeat way of the need to buy tickets soon – did I mention we were wearing sandwich boards?
The responses, which boiled down into 3 categories, both amazed and intrigued me:
- Yes, we bought some
- No thanks/ Not yet/ Polite no, etc.
- Flat out ignoring me. No eye contact,. No smile. No nothing. As if we were invisible.
I think the responses are indicative of basic human nature but it got me to thinking, is this how our basic human nature responds to all opportunities? How many have I missed by saying no thanks or, worse, not even realizing there was an opportunity? Is my fear of interaction with the opportunity keeping me from achieving more?
My dad tells a joke about a man who prays regularly to win the lottery. This man prays day and night, his knees bloody from kneeling, yet he never wins. The man then begs for mercy and answers as to why he hasn’t won yet hears nothing. He doubles his efforts to pray, forsaking all other activities.
Finally, after years of relentless praying, he hears God’s voice whisper in his ear, “Frank, buy a ticket!”
See, Frank missed the biggest piece of his desire. He missed step one, therefore, no other action he took could possibly impact his goal. No matter how hard Frank prayed, without buying a ticket there was simply and factually no way he could win the lottery. By missing step one, he made all his other efforts sadly pointless. How many times have I bloodied my knees praying (or hoping, depending on your perspective) for something that will never happen because I missed step one? How many times did I fail to buy the ticket? How many times have I been “busy” without being effective? Frank was certainly busy praying but was he effective? Obviously not. How do we discern busy from busy bodies?
We are all busy. Don’t tell me you’re busy because I am busy too. We all have 24 hours. It’s not how much time you have, it’s what you do with the time you’re given.
Have you bought your ticket yet?