Before returning to full-time ministry, I spent time as a commission salesman for a large advertising company. There were two events that happened during my last year with the company that I still vividly remember. One salesperson was a workaholic. He came early, stayed late, had perfect paperwork, helped write procedures and manuals, and trained other salespeople on procedures and paperwork. He was let go.

Another salesman got agitated during an after hours card game with some of the sales team and pulled out a handgun. He was reprimanded. At first glance, it sure seems the response to these two people was exactly reversed. However, the hard working salesman was consistently in the lower half of the sales force. The other one was consistently in the top five salespeople.

That’s the way the world works: performance outweighs everything. Marginal athletes get dismissed from the team for falling asleep during meetings. Stars get warnings. The bottom line is not character, it is performance.

That is one reason why the call of Jesus is so counter-cultural. Your "performance" has nothing to do with your salvation. You are never good enough to get into heaven on your own. You are never so bad that the grace of God cannot save you. Getting to heaven starts with what God did when he sent his Son to this earth to save us. I believe that is good news.

It is a hard concept to grasp in a culture that is so driven by individual performance. But it is a truth that can change your life forever. If you would like to talk more about this, join our blog discussion at Or write me at and we will talk about it.

Salvation is not about how good — or how bad — we are.

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