Josh and I walked into a local landscaping business this morning to see if we would be a good fit to provide their IT support. It was a typical sales meeting where we tag-teamed to learn about their business, assess their technology needs and see if it would be mutually beneficial to add them to our ProVisionIT family. (Josh started the business nearly seven years ago and it’s become a genuine family business that I help with, mostly from home.)
We sat down with Mary in their modest conference room. She was pleasant, efficient and friendly. It quickly became apparent that our company was well beyond their IT budget, but I watched my son do what he has taught me to do in sales: put the customers needs above company time.
He patiently answered her questions, showed her some cool stuff on his iPad that she could do on her own, and provided her with some professional advice that guys make good consulting money sharing.
As our 30-minute meeting moved toward an hour, I inadvertently called him “Son.” The moment had come. In each sales meeting we attend together it happens. He calls me Mom, I call him Son or someone notices we have the same last name and inquires about our relationship.
In most every case there are smiles, especially when Josh says, “When I was younger I used to resent that she was so involved in my life…now I pay her to be.”
Mary was surprised. She then mentioned her own 20-year-old son and I briefly shared that I was not supposed to have children. “In His mercy, God not only gave me Josh but also his six siblings. Josh and I went through some challenges when he was a teen but now we not only work together, but enjoy it.”
“That’s wonderful,” she responded. Chuckling, she added, “Josh, maybe you can talk to my son at some point!” Then something special happened. She turned her eyes to me and said, “Would you want to do lunch sometime?”
It’s happened just a few times in my three years of helping Josh with his business. The Holy Spirit makes His presence tangible. One time it was when a client responded to my comments about my infertility by mentioning she had been trying for years to conceive; Josh and I ended up praying with her for a miracle. Another time a potential client’s eyes brimmed with tears when she saw the warmth between my son and me. I later found out she and her young adult daughter were going through some relationally tough times.
I’m about to email Mary to set up lunch. I don’t know that God has in mind. Is she a believer or not? Is her relationship with her son rocky and strained? Is she simply lonely and wanting to spend time with another mom of an adult son? Does she want to further explore us doing business together?
As we walked to our cars Josh said, “That meeting was more about the gospel than it was about business.”
Who wouldn’t want to have a boss with that perspective? You see, Josh and I did go through tough times when we both struggled with bitterness toward one another. I remember taking him to a basketball practice shortly before he turned 16. His silence was once again deafening and I ended up tearfully asking, “Son, I know you love me; you kinda have to…but do you like me? Or do I just get on your nerves too much?” His answer was a telling, “Of course I love you, Mom.” The years following continued to be tough. We both irritated and frustrated each other and I continued to long for my son to like me.
Yesterday we once again experienced the fruit of God’s work in our relationship. We still irritate each other and sometimes have to talk through selfish interactions with one another. But Josh was right: the gospel was on display in our meeting yesterday. Our mutual respect for each other, affectionate interactions and the joy we find in working together isn’t because of who we are or how hard we’ve worked to change. It’s because our need for a Savior didn’t stop when we become believers; He has been busy growing, changing, convicting and empowering this mother and her son for many years.
So, Josh, I know now more than ever how much you love me. You show it in more ways than I can count. You saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and gave me the chance to both help grow your company and serve your dad by bringing some appreciated funds into our budget. You’ve entrusted your customers to me and given me the opportunity to get into the community to meet the Michele’s out there that I would not have otherwise met.
And maybe you’ve even come to like me.
I can’t wait to have lunch with Mary. Maybe I’ll get to demonstrate the gospel to her in some small way again. Perhaps I’ll get to tell her the difference that having a relationship with Jesus Christ has meant to me and that the offer of that relationship is hers as well.
All because of God’s work in a mother and her firstborn son.