A small business owner enjoyed modest success for about ten years. A change in business strategy suddenly increased her sales dramatically. She sought temporary help while advertising for new employees.
One prospective temp brought by the agency had tattoos; to which she shook her head in staunch disapproval, but agreed to others with little to no experience. Her employee search produced several promising candidates with experience related to her business.
She hired two men on a trial basis, and promised pay increases based on performance and initiative. The first employee hired was a young man with a clean cut, pleasing appearance who was well educated. He seemed interested in pleasing the business owner, and often spent time chatting with her on issues that appealed to her. The common bond made her more tolerant of his sometimes less-than-stellar work ethic. Customers also seemed happy with him; he was particularly adept at making the female customers smile.
The second man was closer to the business owner’s age, and had a slight beard. His clothes were not attractive or overly tidy, but he was a diligent and competent worker. Although customers did not smile as they did for the younger man, he did not lose any customers or turn away business like the temporary workers had. She noticed an increase in sales from his suggestions on additional items that complemented the customer and the products they chose.
As the next year progressed, the business owner found herself quite comfortable leaving the business in the hands of her two employees. She was able to pursue additional opportunities and felt confident in her future, until the older employee asked to speak with her privately. She was a little annoyed, expecting that he was going to ask for a raise or bonus for his recent sales. She was dismayed to discover he accused the younger man of embezzling from her. That evening she reviewed the accounts and found truth in his words.
The next day began with the business owner calling both employees into her office. Before the meeting started, she noticed a tattoo on the older man’s arm and chest as he reached to catch a falling object. Appalled to realize she had hired a man with tattoos and had not realized it, she dismissed them both, intending to call the temp agency and then lay off both men. A good friend offered advice on the matter, which she pondered in silence, watching the older employee work that morning. Although she detested the decision to tattoo, he had done nothing to deserve being let go. At lunch she made her decision and fired the younger man.
To her great horror the young man whispered a plan to blackmail her as he left her office. She realized she had left herself quite vulnerable and was suddenly afraid to fire him. A noise outside her door pulled her attention from her thoughts. The two employees were wrestling for a document with intensity. A full minute later, damaged furniture and shouted threats filled the room as the older man handed her the document. To her surprise she found it was the key to her relief and proved the younger man’s guilt in full. The thought struck her that had she fired the older employee for his tattoos, her situation would have been quite different.
Moral of the Story:
In this story, the personal choice to tattoo was abhorrent to the business owner. Many of us have something that we judge others for, something we prefer not to be associated with. There are people who make choices I struggle with – that I admit I would rather turn around to avoid eye contact with, and it is wrong of me.
Here in this history we see a pattern of sin, of bad choices, and wrongs done. Proclaiming victory over even such a sordid past is the reason I think it was included. God overcame all that past, He kept His promises and did it through sinners and non-Jews as if to say He can overcome anything we have done as well.