Note: Thankfully, no cats were actually harmed during the writing of this column. (Original Story by Zig Ziglar)
The steering wheel was never gripped tighter as Jim drove to work Monday morning. Jim, the owner of a local automobile dealership was angry — real angry. Early that morning his wife yelled, “I can’t take your workaholic ways anymore. We’re through. If you don’t learn to spend more time with your family, we’re leaving, forever!”
After arriving at work, Jim stomped toward his office, slammed the door behind him, smacked the intercom button on his telephone and shouted for his sales manager: “Larry, come to my office now!”
Larry was a first-rate manager employed for twenty-three years but sales were off. “Larry, I’m tired of your poor production and pitiful excuses. I expect you to whip our sales staff into shape. If you can’t do that, then I’ll hire someone who can. I don’t care how long we’ve been together. Do you hear me?!”
“Yes sir.” What else could Larry say? Plenty, for he walked out mumbling. “That no good, sorry excuse for an owner! Where does he get off threatening me after I’ve worked so hard for him all these years? We’ve seen rougher times than this before. All this abuse because of a few bad months? What a jerk!”
Larry then barged into his top sales rep’s office: “Robin, I’m sick and tired of making you look good. You wouldn’t be number one if I wasn’t feeding you customers. Last month when I needed help, you let me down. If you don’t do better, I’m replacing you with a real sales person. Do you understand?!!”
Robin understood all right. “He has a lot of nerve jumping on me after all the sales I’ve generated for this company. Everyone knows the only reason he became a manager is because of me!” Just then, the phone rang. Robin shouted at the receptionist: “Hold all my calls! If you were any kind of decent receptionist, you would know that I’m busy! Just remember — you too can be replaced!”
“Well, the nerve of that prima donna!” thought the receptionist. “Who does she think she is?” For the rest of the day, whenever anyone called, instead of a pleasant “Thank you for calling our company. How can I help you?” The unfortunate caller was met with a gruff, “Hello, what do you want?”
When the grumpy receptionist finally made it home that evening, she walked in on her son lying on the couch watching TV. “Son, how many times have I told you that with mother working all day, you need to carry more weight. This room is a filthy, disgusting mess. How dare you watch television when I work all day like a slave! Go to your room. You’re grounded — for life!”
Upset and angry at his mom, the boy hopped from the couch and stomped toward his room. Just then, he noticed Ellis, the family cat asleep on the floor.
Can you guess what happened next?
Before the poor critter could utter a decent meow, the boy gave Ellis a vicious kick which sent him flying across the room. Ouch!
Question: Wouldn’t Jim, the owner have saved a lot of trouble if he had gone to the receptionist’s house and kicked Ellis the cat himself?
Another question: Who’s been kicking your cat?
Yet another question: Whose cat have you kicked?
We live in a negative cat-kicking world, don’t we? None of us are immune. In order to deal with our cat kicking world we need extraordinary patience and courage to keep our attitude focused in the right direction.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is thanking the church for a generous gift but he makes an interesting statement. “I’ve learned to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” (4:11–13)
Wouldn’t you love to have this kind of contentment? How do we obtain it? When someone is kicking your cat, how can you learn to respond with gentleness and grace? Good Question.
Next time: Answers!
About Larry Davies
Larry Davies is currently the Lynchburg, Virginia District Superintendent for 89 United Methodist Churches. He has been the pastor of small, medium, and large churches. For many years, Larry managed and trained sales people in the automobile business. He is also the author of Live the Light: Five Weeks to a Light that Shines and three other books. Larry is the founder of Sowing Seeds of Faith, a worldwide prayer ministry and writing ministry, www.SowingSeedsofFaith.com. His columns and blog posts appear in several newspapers, magazines, and websites. Larry is a graduate of Virginia Tech and received his Master of Divinity at Duke University. Mell, Larry’s wife, recently retired from Concord Elementary School. Larry’s oldest son Stephen is married to Brandy, and they have a one-year-old bundle of energy, Jackson. Larry’s daughter Lisa is engaged to be married to Bobby. He and Mell also have a lively but older Springer Spaniel named Daisy.