Amy and I have been guilty of using time-share companies for a free weekend or two. Have you had the experience yet? They put you up in this great place for the weekend with some free meals or tickets to some show. In return you agree to sit through a “short” presentation.
Short is a relative term. Most of these presentations take anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes – most of it is full of the cheesy, cringing kind of self-promotion that just makes you want to throw up. It makes me wonder how few people actually stop and ask the question – if this is such a great deal, how come more people aren’t doing it? And why are you selling so hard?
The first couple of times we did it, it was easy to say no because we didn’t have any money. Easy peasy. We’d smile, nod, agree, drink the free cokes and walk out.
I have a buddy who went through one of these weekends. He calls me and says “Have you heard of this concept of time-share?” I asked him if he had stopped taking his medication.
“No, no, no…I didn’t buy one but these guys are incredible salesmen. I almost bought one!”
I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. He was one of the most successful businessmen I’d ever known. He was an incredible salesmen himself. I asked him “Are you serious? Did you really almost buy a time-share?”
He tells me the story…
“My wife and I get to the resort and it’s incredible, the nicest place we’ve ever been (it’s in Mexico somewhere). I start doing the math on vacations or vacation homes and it’s close to being a viable way to do vacations every year. And I thought – we could totally do this. A free place to stay for our families every year for vacation!”
I paused. I didn’t know how to ask my question without it getting completely awkward.
“So….you said….”we.” What does that mean?”
He kept talking…”I mean they totally get you if you change locations and want to trade your points to another place…” He talks in some kind of coded language that sounds like English but isn’t really English for the next 5 minutes. What I get out of it was basically this – you could get a different location but you’d have to pay the difference. How they knew what that was sounded complicated. Actually, it wasn’t complicated. Just figure you always have the lesser value and you have to pay the difference.
I ventured my question a bit more direction this time…
“Bro (I always called him ‘bro’ when I was annoyed with him), you said ‘we.’ Are you trying to sell me a time-share with money I don’t have and your big pitch to me is that I have to take vacation with you and your family every year? Because I gotta tell you — I love you and all but just not seeing that happening.”
“Dude — (he always called me DUDE when he was annoyed with me) you’re not listening. Wait for the whole story.”
He kept talking…
“So this salesman keeps selling the property to us and the program. The numbers add up, they make sense. I’m just nodding because even though I’m not buying one – I like this guys style and I can see how people would just fall over this. He gives his big ask and I look at him and I say – ‘Not interested.’ The salesman – like all good ones – still has a couple of pitches left.
He asks me – ‘tell me sir, you work hard. You earn your money, you deserve it. How else are you going to spend your time and your money?’
“Grant — I was floored. I was completely blown away. I couldn’t even take that kind of shot. I start crying right there in the stupid cubicle with the plastic pictures of timeshares with my wife. I mean the blubbering, slobber kind of crying. I can’t stop it.”
I very confused at this point. “So….you did buy a timeshare??”
“DUDE!! Did you hear the question the salesman asked? I mean did you really, really HEAR it? It’s a test question and I’m done failing it in my life.”
Long silence. “Bro, I’m going to level with you. I’m totally in the dark as to WHAT IN THE WORLD YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!”
“Grant — it might be my time, but it’s a gift from God. It’s his gift to me to do with what I want BUT…it’s still a gift from God. It isn’t my money. It’s God’s money. He provides. I’m a steward of that money. When that guy asked me that question – how else are you going to spend your time and your money it was like the Lord was asking me the same question. I was hitting a wall in my walk with Jesus, just kind of getting distracted and discouraged and who knew that Jesus would show up on my vacation and wake me by trying to sell me a time-share.”
My buddy loved the Lord, he’d given more money to missions and the church than I probably would ever make. He’d traveled the world telling others about Jesus, he’d volunteered with youth ministry for years. I’d put him on my top 5 Godly Men List OF All Time. I had no idea he was going through all of that but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to correct some bad theology.
“Bro – I don’t think Jesus was trying to sell you a time-share to wake you up. He may have used that but – ”
My friend interrupted me – “No, Grant. You are wrong. Jesus in fact DID try to sell me a time-share. That was the salesman’s name. I only noticed it at the end when he started pushing with the “your time” and “your money” comment. Is that not the most craziest thing ever???”
It’s up there. And I still have that lesson in my life — it’s my time as a gift, it’s his money on loan.
For the Kingdom.You can find more of Grant's random thoughts on his blog.