I went to a meeting last night with the leaders of my church. Before the meeting started the gentleman we were meeting with was praying and prophesying. My pastor went next door and had one of his employees come over so he could receive prayer. This particular employee is not a Christian. After he received prayer the guy who prayed presented him with the gospel. He gave a few different illustrations that made Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice plain and simple to understand.
So the gentleman asked the employee if he understood. The employee said that he did. The gentleman then asked the employee if he would accept what Christ had done for him. The employee said, “I’m not ready to get saved.” The gentleman proceeded to say that he didn’t know what the employee meant by “saved” and he kept asking if he was ready to accept Jesus. At this point the employee started to get a bit agitated. He had stated his lack of desire for Jesus to be his Lord and the gentleman kept playing a semantics game in an attempt to get the employee to agree to something he didn’t want to agree to.
I spoke with the employee later and asked how he felt about the whole thing and he said that he believed the gentleman meant well, but he felt like he was trying to trick him into agreeing and saying something that he didn’t want to say. That’s pretty much how I saw it as well. But other stuff happened that I haven’t mentioned and my ultimate assessment was that folks were trying to force the employee into the kingdom. The problem is that we can do no such thing (John 1:13). If we could, then trust me, I’d do it with everyone I ever came into contact with.
But as I was speaking to the employee I simply told him that he’s not good where he’s at, which is to say that he’s not in Christ and that’s not a good place to be, but also that he’s not going to move until God draws him (John 6:44). I encouraged him to start reading the Bible and asking God to reveal himself. I also shared with him Jesus’ teaching about discipleship, which is placing Jesus above any and everything else (Matt. 10:34-39). Preaching the love of God, the forgiveness of God, and the grace of God is wonderful and necessary; but we need to tell the whole story.
It was this part of the story that was tripping the employee up. He simply didn’t want to place Jesus first at that particular point in time. And he can’t be forced or tricked or debated into doing so. All that we can do is continue to plant seed and prayerfully wait for the harvest. I firmly believe that God will save this employee but it’ll be through a joyous reception of the gospel and not through any effort on the part of those preaching it.