On a hot summer afternoon, the missionaries returned to our car after several hours of knocking on doors in Salt Lake City. Tired and discouraged from people not being at home, not choosing to answer their door, or conveying little interest in what we had to say, I searched for words to offer hope and consolation.
Words that came out of my lips were like drops of water on hot pavement. They evaporated quickly. Feeling inadequate, I asked myself, “What would Jesus say?”
I was driven to the gospels and red-letter words of Christ. There, I found the encouragement and inspiration we needed.
In Matthew 10:5-20, Jesus was offering instructions to his twelve disciples. From these instructions, there were nuggets of gold that missionaries could take to heart.
It’s not our responsibility on how a person responds to the gospel message. That’s the business of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus tell us to proclaim a simple message, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” In fact, the kingdom of heaven has arrived at a person’s doorstep. Believe in His message and you will draw near to His kingdom. That’s the invitation we bring.
When the door chooses to be opened or remain closed, it’s about the message and not us. When received with warmth and openness, we readily transmit the message of peace. If you are not welcomed or listened to, Jesus tell us that we simply leave and “shake the dust off our feet” in judgment.
A missionary can’t help but feel sad for those who reject the true message of grace. Over a series of rejections, a messenger can easily get discouraged, because he loves the One giving the message so much. It is during these times where we need to remind ourselves that it’s not about us. If a person closes the door to their heart and to their home, we allow them the freedom to do so. Not only does Jesus tell us to do that, but it’s also the loving thing to do.
Jesus tells us in the Great Commission that he will always be with us to the very end of the age. That promise is coupled with the fact that whenever we are placed in a position to be his witnesses and words do not form on our lips, then he will give us the words to say (v. 20). It will not be you speaking, but the Holy Spirit speaking through you.
With these promises, we can be assured that there is power in the invitation to hear God’s Word, but there is also power in His presence through us.
Perhaps there is more than we thought whenever Christians are given the opportunity to share God’s Word.
No wonder we are truly blessed with the experience of being used by God to be his messengers.