Imagine you work all summer to buy tickets for you and your
best friend to go to Hawaii. You send your friend a telegram: "I'd
like to invite you to Hawaii. I've already paid for your tickets!"
There's only one small hitch. As the telegram delivery man
proceeds to your friend's house, he starts thinking about all the
Oh, no! Wouldn't it be a shame if the friend has a conflict
that week. Actually, the friend might not even believe this; it
sounds too good to be true. Gee, what if the friend thinks I'm
from the IRS? Or that I'm a repo man! What if they greet me with a
shotgun blast or open the front door for their Doberman!?
The delivery man's thinking is paralyzing; he decides not to
deliver the message at all.
I realize this story is somewhat far-fetched, but it has
spiritual application because we are called to be God's
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not
counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the
message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).
God has been showing me lately that my nervousness in
witnessing has often resulted from my having the wrong goal. My
goal should be to share Christ, not to get people to receive
Christ. Too often I am concerned with how people will
respond--something I can't control. When I make this mistake, I
often talk myself out of delivering the message at all.
I'm getting my part and the recipient's part confused. I'm
responsible for my part regardless of what the recipient does. How
arrogant it is to put my thinking above the Sender's thinking
(regarding whether or not the message should be delivered).
This wrong goal not only makes me nervous, it makes the people
I share with nervous. How do you feel when dealing with pushy
salespeople? When salespeople adopt the wrong goal (trying to
control what you do rather than what they do), they are
manipulative rather than helpful. When I feel pressured by a
salesperson, I get defensive and I look for an opportunity to
escape. Non-Christians must feel the same way when confronted by a
Clarifying what is and what is not our responsibility not only
frees us up, it frees up the people we witness to. God wants us to
speak with love, authority, and boldness--without pressure.
We need to approach a non-Christian with this mindset:
Although I want you to come to know Christ, I'm not going to try
to force anything upon you. You are free to make your own
decision. God is offering you a wonderful gift. You must decide
whether to receive or reject it. He is the One sending you this
message. I'm just the delivery man.