Part of my job is to collect cash. The techie term is B2B credit control. The reality is relationship. Because contract law, when the full force of the law is applied, may get you paid. But a sound invoicing system, simple but efficient systems and strong relationship does the trick much better.
I have never wondered or pondered over that. It just “IS”.
The person working in a purchase ledger/accounts payable department is simply doing a job. Probably underpaid, probably over-worked, probably fighting their company’s own purchasing paperwork system, their own hierarchy of managers who think paperwork is not “my job”. And definitely they will have a life outside their job of endless invoices and demanding ledgers. And for sure they will have many – like me – calling them day after day in a robotic way: Pay me now or we will sue you – the law is on our side – we have rights – pay me now or we will sue you!
The law. We have rights. Do it now. Or we will use the law to hurt you.
I am still talking about credit control here … but you know what – this is beginning to sound very familiar:
One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.” Luke 6:1-5
Why is it that “we get” so much so easily … I have never wondered or pondered over that. It just “IS” … but we make this God Stuff so fiendishly complicated?
This credit control malarkey? Whether or not I will be calling the same people month after month – or collecting cash once in blue moon – or maybe just once … simple commonsense says “people matter” – human beings matter. And where people matter relationship matters.
What does that mean?
It means I do have the law on my side. The company I am calling does have a legal obligation in contract, in law and in reality. They must fulfil this legally binding commitment. The law says so. And we can invoke severe penalties where the company chooses to be above the law (so they think).
But it means this: if the law is all I am, I will alienate everyone I contact. And I will be paid. But my company will get the reputation of being cold and hard-hearted. My entire organisation will have its hard won, hard fought, must protect reputation damaged. By me.
People are like that. People remember that. People know the difference between when the spirit of the law is present – and when the law is all there is. When “the law” is all that I am. Because we all know when someone cares. We just know. And we respond. And that is why I do credit control like I do credit control (apart from it being so much more fun).
(wind … desert … silence … deserted cowboy town … Clint Eastwood slopes on by in the distance …)
Me: Lord, you got a minute?
Him: ”Always, Paul”
Me: How long have I been doing credit control now?
Him: ”It’s about thirty plus years I reckon.”
Him: ”Care to share?”
Me: I have been doing this “relationship thing” for that number of years – knowing it was the only way I wanted to “do this job” – so obvious I could talk the hind-leg off a donkey about how important it was – I have even produced and run training courses on how important it is …
Him: ”(Would you mind if I said a long suffering “I know!!!” at this point?)”
Me: Not at all Lord, not at all.
Him: ”Yes, Paul”
Me: You’ve been here all the time haven’t you?
Him: ”Where else would I be, Paul? Where else would I be?”
And maybe that is why this God Stuff is so fiendishly complex.
I “box and parcel” different parts of my life and living: work is work, home is home, fun is fun, God is God …
Thirty plus years He has been refining this “relationship stuff” in me. And I never even knew! Thirty years of being “me” without a “God” in sight. Yet looking back – where I am now is all just “one”. Who I am now – I already was back then. What I write now – I was actually doing back then – still am. And – the weirdest thing of all as I sit here this morning: it was also where “love is always the answer, now what’s the question” was conceived. Growing in the womb of love and relationship all these thirty plus years. And simply by living a normal compartmentalised life – I put God in a box. I (still) keep God safe. I wrap Him up and make Him a convenience. I make Him fiendishly complicated.
And I wonder …
Would you give me thirty plus years of your life? Or just the five precious minutes on your proverbial “doorstep”. And if I don’t sign-up to your God right then – you move on.
Life is a team game. Life is relationship. And God is life. Seemples!!
Me: Dear Father, eternal friend and soulmate – would you mind giving me a cuddle?
I seem to have come over all huggy-bear …
Got a damp eye thing going on here …
You blow my brains every time …
Him: ”I’m already here, Paul.
Always have, always will.
Now you shhhh a while.
Let’s just snuggle.”
In a few hours Mrs Paul and me head for an Oliday! Oliday! Oliday! Wahooooooooooooooooooo!!
See you all in two weeks!!