Too often we are under the misunderstanding that constant attention has to be showered on someone as they receive the Word for the first time. We think that we have to be in their faces all the time. We believe that we have to correct every little thing they do. It all has to be perfect. What we do not realize is that we might be doing more harm than good.
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain — first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (NIV)
We sow the seed of the Word. Then we begin to hammer it in their heads. They need to accept now. They need to understand now. They need……. That is what we think. God says we need to sow and let Him take care of the rest. I’ll give you an example.
My husband is not shy about sharing the Word. He is also one that will back off as soon as the person lets him know that they will not tolerate any more religious talk. He has been criticized for this method. He has been told that they have to accept now. He needs to push it. But this verse comes alive with his method of witnessing.
A friend of his that he had known for over ten years accepted Christ. He said that it was because my husband did not badger him and force him to accept. My husband told the truth and let the Master Grower take it from there. He allowed the Word to convict his friend and not his words of persuasion. Why? Because then he could claim no credit. All the credit went to God.
A girl I worked with was into the occult. She would say and do things just to see if I would pull away like all the other Christians. I didn’t, yet I also didn’t ram my religion down her throat. I let her figure it out. It wasn’t long before she asked for a Bible and then accepted Christ. Even after her conversion she had not accepted the “correct” beliefs on some things. One thing was abortion. She told what she believed. I bit my tongue. Why? Because if I told her my stance on it and even used scripture she would only have gotten angry and dug in her heals. Truth cannot get through such high and thick walls. A few weeks later she approached me and asked why I didn’t correct her on that issue. She pulled out verses that contradicted what she had said earlier. I asked her if she would have listened if I had told her. With a smile, she said no. The Master Gardener did a better job than I could have dreamed of. She had to come to a decision about that topic on her own and from God.
You can apply this principle to anything in life. When you get into a discussion, does it turn into a debate or an argument? An argument means that you are not letting the Master Gardner do his work. You are trying to do the miraculous. We do it with any religious topic. We do it with politics. We do it all the time. We have to convince people that we are right. Why? Because we are not so sure that we are right. By going up to someone and attacking any belief they have is asking them to put up defenses and begin fighting. You will never get through anyone like that. You show yourself the fool. Let it go.
Who are you most likely to listen to? The person who is respectful to your own views. Whose opinions are you most likely to mull over? The person who doesn’t try to ram them down your throat. What is the old saying about bees and honey?
Sweet Is More Attractive
No matter what side you are on religion in general or a particular subject of religion, you can get more results by not being obnoxious, belligerent, rude, or condescending. You get more when you respect the other person and not keep telling them why they are wrong. The ground is more fertile when we respectfully lay the seed down and let it do its thing.
We have two cousins that do not believe in God. One listens to the Christian side with respect and then gives his own opinion. If you are one to respect him back and not badger him, you will have many more of these conversations. The other cousin is immediately in your face when he sees you. He has to start a fight about whether there is a God or not. He starts telling the other person how stupid they are. In fact, he talks so much and without thinking that before long he talks himself into holes and up against walls. When that happens, he screams and shouts and leaves. The other person need not say a word. How is anyone to listen to his viewpoint if it is so emotional and rammed down our throats?
Do you know who Ruth Stout is? She was an eccentric gardener who led the world down a new gardening path. She proposed that you did not have to weed or do any work in the garden that was labor intensive. Let nature do the work. Lay down the mown grass and vegetable cuttings from the kitchen along the row of vegetables. Do not work the mulch into the dirt. Let nature do it all. Only once in awhile the gardener turns the mulch to get oxygen in it. Other than that nature does all the fertilizing and weeding. It has been a revolutionary way of gardening.
Plant the seed and back away. Be close to let some oxygen in when needed. Other than that, just let the Master Gardener do the work.