Followers of Jesus Christ have the responsibility to reach out to the least and lost in order to give them hope, share blessings and spread the good news about our Savior. This responsibility can become a challenge when true believers are facing indifferent or hostile audiences. The best ways to handle these situations is found within the bible.
In Acts chapter 17 we see Paul preach to a crowd full of non-believers. Instead of denouncing everything in which the Athenians have faith, Paul takes what they already believe, and builds on it. He points out that the unknown god that they have built a shrine to, is the Christian God. He tells them that God is already in their lives, and that they have been searching for Him all along. He celebrates the fact that our God is not high atop a mountain, but lived among and is within all of us. Finally, Paul explains the Good News; God created the world and though people have sinned, God is willing to restore anyone who chooses to follow God’s word and the teachings of Jesus.
Many of the Athenians who listened to Paul remained indifferent, and some were even hostile by mocking Paul. A few were intrigued, but did not make any life altering choices. However, two people heard what Paul said and changed their lives. God is not asking us to go out and force people to follow Jesus, he just wants us to plant the seed, nurture it, and if it was meant to be it will grow inside of that person.
The challenge often comes when we are not fully invested in spreading the Gospel. This is the case for the prophet Jonah, who is told by God to warn the people of Nineveh to change their evil ways or be punished by God. Since Jonah didn’t care for these people, he felt that they should be punished, and did not want to warn them. When he finally did go to Nineveh he only half-heartedly shared the message, and was distraught when the people actually changed their behavior. If Jonah truly loved God, he would want to share his message and save as many people as possible.
It is important that we share the Good News with as many people as possible, because everyone should have a chance to feel the love and grace of Jesus. Philip Yancey says “Christians can do no better than to follow the example set by Jesus, who specialized not in techniques and arguments but in spirit and example.” This means that we do not have to be great debaters, we simply have to show compassion, and treat others with dignity and respect.