Acts 17:32-34 (KJV) 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Paul preached. There were three distinct reactions. 1. Some mocked. 2. Others wanted to check it out further. 3. Some believed. Those who believed took the initiative of joining Paul and other believers. These believers included both men and women.
People are different. Their hearts are are different, their mindset are different, their decisions are different. It will be so cool if everyone believes every time we preach – way cool. But In as much as we desire everyone to believe the Gospel and be saved, we can expect that this will not be so. We can categorize people’s reactions the same way Paul’s audiences reacted to him. Some will be hostile; some will be half convinced; some will believe. It’s interesting to note that the results at times surprise us. Those who we thought will be angry, in some “mysterious” ways, very willingly surrender their lives to Christ. Those we thought are perfectly ripe for harvest suddenly display surprising outbursts of extreme disapproval to the Gospel message. What’s beautiful about spreading the Good News though is that we can have the right result every time. I’m not referring to the responses – that will always be the same until preaching is no longer needed; I’m referring to the preaching itself. Whether we preach or not is not dependent upon others. We can preach whether they accept or abhor the Message. Whether we succeed to preach or not is totally dependent upon us. It’s our choice. So, preach away, knowing that there will be believers. By the way, for those of us who’ve been looking for the “magic bullet” of growing a church, this is a very effective start: preach. Again, there will be believers.
Dear Lord of the Harvest, Our Message, thank You that our faithfulness in sharing or preaching the Good News is not determined by other people. We pray for love, truthfulness, wisdom, gentleness, and boldness as we go out and preach Your Gospel. Thank you Lord because we can join you in the joy of the harvest.