As most of you all know, I have an etsy shop, well two of them actually. My one that keeps me the most busy though is "The Peacock Shop" which is filled with mostly painted teacups and mugs. I have had this shop since June of 2008 and have made 254 sales. 254 sales means at least 254 people that I get to correspond with and create somewhat of a relationship. They trust me to make them a good product and I do my very best to meet all of their expectations...sometimes it is harder than others to please a few of these customers and then sometimes I meet customers that I wish lived in my neighborhood so we could be friends. So many different kinds of people and personalities that I have had the opportunity to come in contact with, and I thank God for each one of them.
December was my busiest month so far. Thankfully, Seth had an easy work schedule and he was able to help me get everything done...barely, but we made it! During that time, I had one customer request a "Movember 2010" Mustache Mug. I had no idea what "Movember" meant but I had a request for one last year as well, so I made it and mailed it. On the bottom of all of my mugs, I sign my name and I also sign the Bible verse reference "John 3:16". I have been doing this for a while and never had anyone complain about it.
When we got back home from Texas for Christmas, I received a message from one of my customers. She was upset because I had signed "John 3:16" on the bottom of my mug (as my signature) and the person whom she was giving it to would be offended. She told me I needed to send her a new mug, without the verse reference and without taking any further liberties.
I was so upset! Now I had a customer who didn't like her mug because I signed my name with a Bible verse. What was I going to do? She didn't ask me to send her a new one without the verse, she told me to. Granted, I have had to re-make more than my fair share of mugs due to breakage or mistakes on my behalf (misspelled names, wrong dates, etc.) and all of my customers have been so nice about asking what I can do for them and I have sent them a replacement, for free since it was my mistake. Now, I have a lady who is demanding me to send her a new mug (for free, without offering to send the first one back) and she wants me to remove "John 3:16". I will have to say I went into a small panic. I talked with Seth about it and we talked with some family about the situation and I decided I needed to take some time to pray about what to do. Sometimes God doesn't give us an answer for a while, but that evening God gave me the answer almost immediately. I will have to admit that my initial, human nature reaction wanted to write her a rude note back, but then I was quickly reminded by my husband, "Kathlyn, what is the point in putting 'John 3:16' on the mug if you are going to react the way Satan would want you to?". Good point, Seth, good point.
Back to my answer from God. I knew the only answer to this problem would be to give her a full refund and let her know that I could not send her a new one minus the verse, and God gave me a complete peace about that decision...plus, she got to keep the first one. I explained that to her that due to my own beliefs, I could not send her a new mug without feeling as though I was letting down God. I thought for sure that she would understand, considering that the same reason I couldn't send her a new mug without the verse was the same reason she didn't want to give her friend the mug with the verse. I also made a new note on the front page of my shop that I sign all of my mugs with my name and "John 3:16". I felt this was the best answer without me compromising what I strongly believe in.
Much to my disappointment, a few days later, after having a 100% rating for 3 1/2 years, my rating went down to 99%. Here is what my bad rating says:
My feelings were so hurt. I was upset, angry, sad. Seth reassured me that it was unrealistic to have a 100% rating forever, but I still could not get over what all was said in the feedback. The craziest thing is that until I read the review she left, I had no idea it was for her boyfriend, that he was Jewish and that he had raised money for cancer this year...all of which she decided to put in the review for some reason.
One line of the review stuck with me though and I couldn't get it out of my head: "...I could not give it to him because the mug arrived with Christian references painted on the bottom....not sure what religion has to do with mugs, but it was a liberty taken by the seller...."
I have thought about that line a lot. So, why couldn't I have just sent her a replacement without the verse on the bottom? After all, a verse doesn't have anything to do with a mug, right?
Actually, my shop, my products and the manner in which I run my shop has EVERYTHING to do with my "religion". I look at my shop as an incredible way to reach hundreds of people in all parts of the world. In fact, this very lady lives in Canada. I write "John 3:16" on the bottom in hopes of opening their eyes to the love of Christ. God calls us, as believers, to be a witness for Him. That doesn't mean that I have to go on a missions trip to do it. He wants us to take our talents, our every day situations and jobs and use them for Him.
In Colossians 3:23 it says, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men," Which is exactly the reason that I have that verse on the bottom and the same reason that I will continue to write that verse on the bottom, no matter how many bad reviews I get because of it.
God says in Matthew 5:10:
"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom."
If my rating is the only way I am being persecuted for Christ right now, then I am blessed. So many others throughout time have given much more than a customer rating for Christ, so that is the very least I could give for Him.
I am sharing this with you today to encourage you in your walk with Christ. Don't me intimidated by this world to take a backseat when it comes to your belief in HIM. The world will not reward you for taking a stand, but Christ will never forget. Whether it be in the little, everyday things, or the big things...be bold for Christ! If you are reading this today and aren't sure where you stand with your relationship with Christ, or maybe you don't have a relationship at all, I encourage you to visit this website. Or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is John 3:16 as well, "16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."