To be or not to be…welcome? That was the question 2,000 years ago when Jesus sent out the apostles on their first evangelistic expedition:
“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:11-14).
Worthiness in this context was an openness to the gospel. Jesus uses ‘worthy’ three times in this small section. Worthiness of the audience demanded the apostles time and attention.
In contrast, whoever didn’t receive the apostles nor hear their words would have been unworthy of the apostles time and attention. In fact, the Lord instructed them to physically leave that particular house or city.
And what determined further engagement or disengagement of people? Inquiry!
How might this simple concept of initial inquiry apply to you and I today as witnesses for Christ? Simply, it will include taking the spiritual temperature of our audience. For we need to find out if someone is interested in talking about spiritual matters, and more specifically, discussing Jesus.
Are they hot, cold, or lukewarm to having a spiritual conversation? One of the best ways to take someone’s spiritual temperature is to ask leading questions. For questions are the key to opening conversational doors…and there are many. Click here for an article with lots of conversation starter questions.
Finally, if someone isn’t interested in talking about spiritual matters, always respect their wishes. If they’re open to having a spiritual conversation, trust the Lord to guide and lead your interaction. And at all times, regardless of a person’s spiritual temperature, always conduct yourself with gentleness and respect. For this honors the Lord and keeps the door open for further interaction.