Getting The Message Out

On a regular basis I receive either by phone or mail an unsolicited solicitation trying to get me to buy or subscribe to something. One thing you can say for these folks is that they are relentless! If you too deal with these solicitations, here is a story you might enjoy.

Years ago, the big wheels at Time-Life Publishing were made aware that their profit line had shrunk to a dangerously low level. Knowing that something had to be done right away, they called in some expert consultants to see if they could turn things around. These experts went to work trying to determine where changes needed to be made.

One of the areas specifically targeted was the renewal department. They were sending out these heart-rending letters to every reader whose subscription was soon to expire. They were having some success, but the problem was that there were 350 people employed in this department. It was calculated that millions of dollars could be saved if they could purchase a machine to do this work and pare down their overhead expenses.

They went with that advice, laid off a lot of workers and bought a fancy computer system from IBM. It was set up so that all the subscribers’ names were entered into the system. Then, when a subscription was within six weeks of expiring, that name would be affixed to one of those pre-written, heart-breaking letters. The machine would then fold, stuff and stamp the letter, even dropping it into a mailbox without a human hand touching it!

Everything seemed to be going as planned for a while. Then one day there was a computer glitch which caused one name to get attached to 12,634 tear-jerking letters and mailed before the glitch was discovered. A few days later a sheepherder in Montana, who had not received a letter in years, received several mailbags containing 12,634 letters addressed to him!

It took him three weeks to open and read all the letters. Blood-shot eyes and weary he then made out a $6.00 check and mailed it back to Time-Life. He also attached a personal note addressed to the President of Time-Life which simply said, “I give up!”

I found this story rather humorous, but I also think there is a serious application that could be made from it too. God has demonstrated his great love to us time and time again. He desires for us to subscribe to His will (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). But He does not do that by hounding us to death- - but by loving us to life (cf. John 10:10).