I consider it pure joy when a night out to the movies turns into a night in talking about Jesus. It's been a while since I've had an opportunity to actually sit down and talk about doctrines and evangelism; it was warmly welcomed.
The topic was about open-air evangelism and relational evangelism. Both have their merits, but the focus quickly moved toward the receiver. In open-air evangelism the receiver could be anyone who is walking by the area of listening-distance. The danger is when only "soundbites" are received and so a message can be distorted: You hear "You're a sinner!" but don't catch "but God's grace redeems you!"
Relational evangelism has its own challenges, such as whether the receiver actually wants to listen to and engage in the whole conversation.
This all interested me so much because it reminded me of work. Recently we launched a new product that, by industry standards, is superior to our competitors. This is something I thought our clients would love to jump on, but as I speak with them it appears they are happy with what they have.
But we have a better product!
It costs less than what they have, and the value is greater than what they receive. But they still refuse to make the change. They would rather just keep doing what they're doing, even if it's not the best for them.
A rapper I heard once gave an illustration that I liked: You're in prison, the doors all unlock and everyone's chains fall off, but there are still people who don't budge. They put their chains back on sit in their cells.
Isn't this a lot like evangelism? We have a treasure, but people's hearts are hard to listen. Evangelism is hard, but as all trials, count it all joy when you encounter them, because the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2)
It's encouraging that the result of evangelism does not depend on us. Some people will lesson and learn, others not for a long time, and others never will, but we do our part.
I will remember this when I'm dealing with difficult clients who don't yet see the value in our product. It doesn't mean it's not there. And I will remember when I share my faith in Christ with someone even when they don't agree. It doesn't mean it's not real.