Even when people do not show interest in speaking to us about the Lord, we can leave them with an open door, should they change their mind in the future.
While on a soul walk (walking a neighborhood with hopes of encountering people to talk to about the Lord), I came across a man standing near the street in front of a group home smoking a cigarett. His name was Jay. We both greeted the other with a “Hello,” me being the instigator. I continued by inviting telling him that I’d like to invite him to worship with us at the Anaheim church of Christ just around the corner. He responded by saying that he really did not have interest. I asked if he’d ever read the Bible and he said that he had being brought up in Catholic school. He said as an adult he went to Catholic church for a while and then gave it up. I asked if he had faith in God and he said that he did but that he just wasn’t Catholic anymore. I suggested that I was a Christian and not Catholic either nor did I adhere to a brand of Christianity but just attempted to be a Bible believer. I asked Jay if he was familiar with Jesus’ statement that He was the way, the truth and the life and the only way to the Father. He said he had. I asked if he had heard the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13,14, 21-23 and quoted it them to him. He said he had.
As I write this account from the notes I took when this encounter occurred, I do not see evidence that I asked Jay what he thought about Jesus’ statements. I only asked if he had heard them before. This was an oversight on my part. Asking him for his thoughts could have revealed more about his faith and possibly created meaningful dialogue from him. Also missing from this conversation was a gospel invitation, inviting Jay to belief, repentance and obedience to the gospel.
Nonetheless, I did ask Jay if he would be interested in studying more about the will of God together. He said, “Not really.” I told him I was going to give him a card with my personal contact information on it anyway so that if sometime in the future he changed his mind and wanted to talk again, he’d have my number. He responded with an “ok.” We parted company with well wishes.
Certainly not the reception I was hoping for, but some truth was shared and perhaps ground was tilled and seed sown that may get a chance to be watered another day. To God be the glory!
Though this interchange was not all I hoped for it, I am still glad to have initiated it. It was an exercise of my faith, it added to my evangelistic experience, it had potential for encouraging Jay to engage his faith, possibly leaving him with spiritual things to ponder and it sowed seed that could be nurtured. Had I not spoken to Jay, none of this would be true.
Something new learned from the experience is leaving the door open. I think I leave the door open in most of my evangelistic encounters with people, but the way I did so in this exchange seemed more intentional than other times. I had it in my mind that I wanted them to know very directly that just because the conversation ended, the invitation to sharing a spiritual relationship remained open.
When we share spiritual conversations with others, let’s make it our goal to always leave the door open.