On a recent trip to Rome, Italy, I participated in an Ask Me Anything event that was focused on matters of productivity. One of the questions I was asked was related to success at sharing the gospel, and if we are judged based on our faithfulness in doing so. Here is my answer. (I also thought you might be interested in seeing what it’s like to work with a translator–it forces you to think and speak in short bursts.)
Are we being judged based on our productivity in sharing the Gospel?
We need to be careful that we don’t turn productivity into just a list of things we need to accomplish. When we think about productivity we usually think of a list of tasks. But people are not tasks to accomplish. They are people who are created in the image of God. And so our job is not to accomplish salvation in someone. And not to say I shared the Gospel so I can put a check mark there. But to live in this world in the way God calls me to. And that means deliberately building relationships with people. And then, using that relationship as a bridge to share the Gospel with them. And as we do that we trust that God begins to work in them. But we believe in a sovereign God who often uses many different means to bring people to salvation. There’s very few people who come to faith on the basis of one conversation or one person. Usually, when we look back on our lives we can see all these different things God used to bring us to faith. And most of what we get to do is just be one little piece in that. And so I like to say instead of sharing the Gospel, to talk about having a spiritual conversation. Which means when I get to interact with someone whether that’s a stranger or a friend I just want to raise something that will get them thinking about spiritual things. It may mean I can share the whole Gospel with them or it may just mean I get to talk about grace instead of works. But we just know that in the way God works few of us have the privilege of taking someone from the beginning to the end. So faithfulness then is creating opportunities and taking opportunities to speak just bits of truth to people and trust that God works in that way.
For illustration, Greg Koukl talks about putting a pebble in the shoe. And you know what it’s like when you’re walking with a pebble in your shoe, every step you feel it. And he says your goal for any conversation with an unbeliever is just to put a little pebble in their shoe. Just something they’ll think about, something that may nag at their conscience. And we just trust that God works and that maybe someday God will show us how He used all those things.