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 possible problems:

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 messengers:

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 pushy witnesser.

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.

Jamie Lash                     

(assisted by Brent Wallace)






 Jamie Lash    LifeGivingWords
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