Thursday, July 12, 2012
There are only two rules.
Rule #1: Each contestant will be tossed several pearls. If you catch one, you can trade it in for a fabulous prize!!! A lifetime all paid vacation to a paradise island!
Rule #2: Although tosses are unlimited, your time is up when the game ends, so focus on getting that prize before time runs out! Let’s begin!
Host: “Contestant #1, are you ready?”
Contestant: “Ready Bob”
Host: “Then here we go!!!”
(Several lusterous pearls are tossed to Contestant #1. He desperately reaches for them, but misses the first few. He finally catches a pearl on toss #7.)
Host: Wonderful! You may now go claim your prize!!!
(Contestant #1 rushes from the state in utter joy)
Host: Contestant #2, are you ready?”
Contestant: “I sure am!”
Host: Then get ready for the toss!”
(The contestant catches a pearl on the very first try.)
Host: That was amazing! You may go claim your prize!
Contestant: Well, I actually just wanted to play the game to see what it was like. This game was too easy. I think I’ll go on “Casting Coals” and get to paradise that way. It’s much more difficult and I think that by putting more effort into catching the coal, it will make my trip to that island paradise even more enjoyable.”
(Contestant #2 leaves the stage smiling and waving.)
(Time passes until we reach Contestant #6)
Host: “Contestant #6, are you ready?”
Contestant: “I don’t think I want to play, Bob.”
Host: “Well, you’re already part of the game, so you’ll have to play before the next contestant can get their shot.”
Contestant: “Nah, this game is stupid.”
Host: “But the prize is a lifetime all paid vacation to a paradise island of your choice.”
Contestant: “Yeah, I don’t believe there is such a thing as an island of paradise.”
Host: “Let me show you a picture of the island.”
Contestant: “This could have been Photoshopped. How do I know it’s real?”
Host: “Let’s hear from someone who has been to the island.”
Contestant: “Let’s not. How do I know what they have to say isn’t just a bunch of fairy tales and lies?”
Host: “Here is a contract that guarantees you will receive the prize promised.”
Contestant: “So I play the game and win the “prize” and find out right after the show that there is a loop hole in the contract and it’s voided because I didn’t wear the right colored socks or something. No way.”
Host: “I refuse to let you pass up this wonderful prize! I will not go to the next contestant until I have convinced you to play the game.”
Contestant: “You’re an idiot.”
(As the host continues in his attempt convince this contestant that the prize is real and the game is worth playing, the other contestants wait. Some are getting tired and fall asleep; others begin talking about other game shows they’d like to be on, others leave the set and go home. Still, the host continues in his attempt to convince Contestant #6 to play the game.)
Okay, do we see the problem here?
Contestant #1 accepted the salvation message eagerly, and although the word of God was shared with him several times, it wasn’t until he was witnessed to the 7th time that he finally made his decision to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The important part is that he was eager to hear the word, which was planted and continually watered until it produced the fruit of repentance.
Contestant #2 was eager to try Christianity, but the thought of just repenting of her sin and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior seemed a little to easy for her. She decided to reject Christianity and opt for another religion where good works and religious rituals lead to heaven.
Contestant #6 has no interest in the word of God or knowing who Jesus is. Although he is offered the word of God, he continually rejects it, even to the point of calling the host an idiot.
What happened to the other contestants; the ones that never got the chance to play? Some fell asleep and never completed the game. Some left the studio and went on with their lives as if they were never offered the chance to play. Some decided to play other game; games that promised the same prize, but never had any intent on meeting their obligation.
The problem is that the host was so intent on getting a contestant to play the game that he ignored those contestants who really wanted to play. The host was so convinced that he could change the contestant’s mind that he ignored his chief responsibility to get as many contestants to play the game as possible in the limited time offered to him. By spending so much time on Contestant #6, he neglected the other contestants and most never took the opportunity to play again.
That’s what it’s like in witnessing to the lost. There are those who eagerly accept the word of God and there are those who reject it outright. The problem I used to have (and many Christians still have) is that I used to spend a lot of time trying to use the word of God to show people that God is real and that they need to repent of their sin. Unfortunately, that took a lot of time away from other Christians who needed encouragement. It also took time away from those who were urgently seeking someone to answer their questions about salvation.
Look, Jesus gave us the perfect example on how to deal with non-believers who totally reject who God is.
- Don’t cast your pearls before them (they’re just going to trash the word of God).
- Shake the dust off your feet and walk away (if they’re not going to accept the salvation message, move on).
- Let the blind lead the blind (if they’re intent on continuing in the same direction, let them go).
We can’t neglect the rest of the harvest just because of one person. The consequences of that is just too great. Jesus taught those who wanted to listen. I don’t recall any recorded incident in the bible where Jesus sat down with those who rejected God and tried to convince them otherwise. Jesus lets everyone make their own decision whether to believe and repent or to deny and remain in their sin. We must understand that having a human nature means that we take on much more responsibility than God wants us to have. It’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict the sinner. It’s His responsibility to convince the sinner of who God is. Our job is to spread the word of God with those who will listen. If they don’t want to listen, then we’re to move on, NOT double down and put a more concerted effort into trying to convince them of who Jesus is.
The enemy uses this flaw in Christians to delay them from coming in contact with those who are on the verge of repentance. He has convinced Christians that you can’t love the sinner if you’re so willing to just walk away, but that’s a lie. Our personal walk with the Lord is a witness. Our prayers for the lost individual is powerful! Lets not be deceived into believing that our one-on-one witnessing is the only way to share the the word God with those who have hardened their heart against the Lord.
So what do I suggest? If someone doesn’t accept the salvation message, offer to give them some information (tracts) or point them to a specific Christian web site. If they won’t accept the information, then let them know that you’re there for them if they have any questions. Always share the love of Christ with them through selfless acts, a warm smile, an offer of prayer in a time of need, etc… That is a wonderful witness.
The most important thing is to get to the harvest and reap as much fruit as possible before your time here on earth is over.