It has been said, that most people’s greatest fear is public speaking. Even those who we call “gifted” speakers will often say that they still get nervous or even “stage fright” before speaking before a group, even after hundreds if not thousands of engagements. The truth is that they have trained themselves to control their emotions and sound to the audience as if they felt right at home in front of a camera or microphone. Their voice may be clear and unwavering, but inside there’s a knot in their stomach growing bigger by the minute. A very gifted pastor and preacher told me years ago, that for the first two or three years of his pulpit ministry, he literally tossed his cookies before almost every Sunday service. Fortunately for most of us, speaking before several hundred people every Sunday is not our job. But, it is our job to go tell others the good news, one or maybe two at a time. It is curious though that most of us wouldn’t be nervous about telling someone, even a perfect stranger, about having just been married or being a new mother or father. Yet, to tell someone about the good news of Christ scares the daylights out of us.
In Matthew chapter ten, when Jesus sent his disciples out to do miraculous things in His name and by His authority, I’m sure there were at least a few of them who were apprehensive if not scared to death. In fact, Jesus warned them that there would most likely be those who would rather do them harm than listen to their message. We know from verse nine and following that the disciples were to live off the land, so to speak, and rely on the hospitality of others. Keep in mind, they weren’t dropping by local churches (they didn’t exist yet) or staying with relatives on the trip, but were to “search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave (v.11).” What exactly did Jesus mean by a “worthy person?” Does this mean that not everyone has earned the privilege of hearing the good news or is worthy of God’s miraculous gifts?
The implication here is not that the disciples would go into a village and seek out someone who is religious or of exceptional character, only that they not be hostile and be open to hearing the message of Christ and receiving a blessing. Also, finding the best or most comfortable accommodations was not to be a consideration as to where they would stay. But what about verse thirteen, where Jesus says, “If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it…” All that is implied here is that if their host had misled them and was not willing to listen, having deceived them for whatever reason, they were not to stay but move on to more fertile territory. The reality is that there can be no peace for someone who is unwilling to sit down and make peace. Real peace can not be forced upon anyone, either here on earth or with God in heaven.
When we go out into our neighborhoods to share the peace of Christ, one person at a time, it is no different for us today than it was for the twelve, two thousand years ago. We should respect people’s wishes and not attempt to force ourselves or the gospel on anyone. Would you ever consider trying to give a gift to someone if they didn’t want it and if you did, is it really a gift? We too should be seeking those who are hospitable enough to listen and willing consider the message. Also keep in mind that it is not our job or the job of a preacher or evangelist to convince or persuade anyone into accepting the peace of Christ. Accepting Christ as Savior and Lord is a response to the call of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit to convict the heart. Our job is simply to go and tell.
Tool #410 Telling someone about Christ doesn’t require salesmanship or a glib tongue, only the willingness to share what you have been given with a “worthy and deserving” individual.