The Traveller’s Rest- Being More Subtle.

In Yer Face.

As Christians we have always been encouraged to not be ashamed of what we believe in and therefore be open and bold and strong about our faith. Shout it from the rooftops. Make sure we take every opportunity to share what we have because that person we came into contact with today may never have this opportunity again, they may die tonight and end up in hell and it would be our fault! Make sure you try to get the name of Jesus into every conversation and get that testimony of salvation in there because by the end of this bus ride they need to be saying a prayer of commitment to Jesus to secure their place in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Assured salvation. This leads to lots of in your face activity and embarrassing conversations. We live as failures because we miss so many opportunities while Mrs Evans has another testimony about sharing her faith with Mrs Morgan while standing to get her fish and chips. We end up then sharing the good news of ‘Come to church on Sunday’ or give them a nicely presented Gospel leaflet or pamphlet, that then arrays the floor of said area. We then call this rejecting Jesus. We knock doors and do our cold sell. We have ‘specials’ to get them in, times that are more exciting to tempt them to the even more boring. We invite them along. Wives leave books in toilets (I have heard that one) for their husbands to read. All of this we call evangelism to win one. Miraculously these things may have worked with God’s grace, but do we really think we’ve got to be so in your face? We either scare them away or force them to buy something they never wanted in the first place! Just think how you feel when that phone rings and it is a cold sale, you either put the phone down or end up with insurance for things you do not even own, switching suppliers of electricity again because this company is the cheapest today or have three people looking into your P.P.I. This is non relational, impersonal and not real in the process of the events of life. There may be times when some are knocked off their high horse in a moment but that is more likely circumstances rather than a one off conversation. For the other 99% it is a gradual process of life, encounters, relationships, reality, a small seed here and there. And by a small seed I do not mean keep quoting Scripture verses or throwing the name of Jesus into every conversation, but by acts of kindness or love or companionship or good deeds.

A Pinch of Salt.

Jesus talks about us being salt and light. Both useless if not used or hidden, but at the same time you can often have too much of a good thing. Salt is used to flavour a meal, but too much of it can cause you to throw up! There just needs to be enough of a pinch to enhance the food. It may not even take recognition but it has given much to the taste. It takes away the blandness. It adds something so people can then taste and see that it is good. There are subtleties to the pouring. I want my life to bring flavouring to those I come into contact with. I want them to taste something outside the blandness, but I do not want them to be overpowered because that makes you dry and repel and want to leave what was offered. Those small acts of kindness and yes those good deeds, these things will lead people to glorify our Father in heaven. But that should not be our driven motive. Our motive just needs to be love, care, people. Adding to the taste for the sheer he…aven of it. This may lead to deeper questions but if not the act of kindness speaks volumes when added to with a pinch of salt.

Subtle Shades of Light.

Then our light. Have you ever been driving and had those full beams in your face. It blinds you to the way you are going. Too much light stops you seeing clearly the road ahead. What we need is enough of a subtle shade to guide the way and enhance the journey. The light is not what we want people to see but the Way is what we want them to see. I know there are times when the Light beams people into a place of attention, i.e. Paul, but that is a rare case. For the majority of people they just need enough light to see what is around them. Enough of an ambient glow to appreciate their surroundings. To reveal where they are and where they could go. Subtle beams of hope, love, peace, joy, patience. The old Gospel song ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,’ used to bother me. Little light? I have a huge, ginormous searchlight!!! I have learned since that the light needs to be more subtle to have greater effect. This little light is perfect.

No More Trying.

This means being set free from being a failed evangelist and Christian. Life is no longer about scalps but about enhancing, flavouring, revealing surroundings to people with subtle lighting. The name of Jesus does not have to be thrown into every sentence because he hangs on every word we speak to people anyway. We do not have to get people to sign a pledge of allegiance to our brand of Christianity because God is quite capable of quietly working away in the hidden places, revealing Himself in the taste and the world that has been exposed by the subtle light around them. I have found being more subtle creates greater appointments and opportunities to share about my walk and my faith. I was never a very good cold seller anyway!!!

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6 thoughts on “The Traveller’s Rest- Being More Subtle.

  1. markrandallpixley

    Love this Paul, I just read where Jesus says he came to seek and save that which is lost…we’ve always imposed upon that he was saying “people” and I don’t discount that, but what if he was actually looking deeper? I think a lot of our “soul-winning” models actually offend heaven because we are seeing people NOT as heaven see’s them, (displaced/broken/victims of hell and having lost their true identity) instead we see them as notches on our belt or a distasteful task we must accomplish to make sure WE are in good standing.

    What if the girl standing out on the porch smoking has lost her dreams? What if the irritable customer has lost their hope because prices are so high? If Jesus was here would he seek and save what was lost in their lives rather than just them? Would he encourage dreams and hope without putting more guilt on them?

    I think the whole world is already aware of the missing goodness inside…no need to make them feel guilty about it…instead what if we simply overcame evil with good?

    Reply
  2. Mavis Andradez

    I think a lot of the problem is with the ‘target’ mentality that runs business and we apply that to church activities. This leads to a misunderstanding that it has a lot to do with our efforts when God’s way is different. I like it when Jesus talks about us being the yeast in the bread. The whole point of the yeast is that it is a relatively small amount but it quietly permeates the whole batch of dough. The bread would be a bit of a flop if the yeast all stayed together in one place but it spreads out through the whole thing and so has the desired result. And of course the pinch of salt enhances the flavour.

    I’m with you on the cold selling. I hate getting those phone calls or being stopped in the street by someone. I cringe sometimes now when I think of things I have done in the name of evangelism. God works in spite of us and our ‘efforts’.

    Reply
  3. Joanna

    One aspect I think gets overlooked with the cold hard sell, is you might not be the person to be around when that person responds to Jesus anyway. You could be part of that person’s journey. One sows, one waters and another reaps and God gives the growth (to paraphrase 1Corinthians 3). What we should be doing is trying to make sure we are helping that person’s journey along, not hindering it.

    Reply
  4. Liz Eph

    “This means being set free from being a failed evangelist and Christian.” Absolutely. This isn’t about God so loved loved loved so we love love love anyway !

    Reply
  5. dianewoodrow

    Yes and amen to your blog and to all the comments.
    Was going to say “this frees us up to be au natural” Realised that meant naked but then wondered actually if that is true evangelism – being naked and vulnerable in front of our friends about our journey with God and how it effects our lives?
    Thanks Paul X

    Reply

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