Who should we engage with the gospel? How would you answer that question? Especially, when we consider Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:6:
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
Who should we engage with the gospel?
I know most of you are thinking: Shouldn’t we engage anyone and everyone with the gospel. I believe that is partly right, especially when we consider Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:16-20 to go and make disciples. So yes, we should be willing to engage anyone and everyone, but how can we best steward our time in a hostile world, especially, when there are so many who need the gospel?
Let me offer you a few principles that I think might be helpful in answering our question.
(1) We should not consistently engage those with the gospel who are looking for an argument.
Proverbs 17:14 and 18:19 say,
The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
(2) We should not consistently engage those with the gospel who are fools and do not desire to know the truth.
Proverbs 14:7; 18:2; 23:9 say,
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.
Why I Am and Am Not Asking this Question
I am not asking this question in order to give myself or others an excuse to not share the gospel. We should be willing to share the good news with all who will listen, and even those who will not.
I am, however, asking this question to challenge you to see that our time and resources are precious. As a result, you should spend your time and resources on those who are willing to listen and are actively seeking to know more about Christ.
For instance, there are a few guys who frequent the Starbucks in my town that I engage with the gospel periodically. I don’t, however, engage them on a daily basis. Why? Because they don’t care to know the truth. They are fools who only want to argue that Christianity is not true. For me to consistently engage them is unfruitful and sucks up my time and resources that I could employ to get to know others. Instead of fretting over engaging them, I rest in the fact knowing they have heard the gospel, are consistently prayed for, and if God so chooses to save them, He will work to soften their hard hearts.
Let me challenge you to share the gospel with others, but to be strategic in who you seek to consistently engage. Spend your time and resources on those who are willing to have an honest conversation with you.
Question for Reflection
- What do you think? Agree? Disagree?