Sometimes, if I am being really honest with myself, I have to concede that my interactions with seekers and skeptics are often about getting the presentation right more than they are about the individual. Yes, I listen; but I only listen for so long, and then launch into presentation (a), (b), or (c) trying to better streamline it each time for greater impact. The problem is, then it becomes all about me instead of being about them.
Other times, if I am being even more honest with myself, I realize that the various opportunities I get to share the basics of Christian faith and/or my own personal journey are about registering these exchanges as a way of charting my own ministry legitimacy. I don’t keep statistics or publish prayer letters with names of contacts, but I do want to think that my efforts partner hand-in-hand with the clergy class. Again, the problem is, it can become all about me instead of about the lost people who I am interacting with.
At other times, if I am really willing to dig deep, I recognize my own sinfulness and my propensity to sin, particularly in the area of my thought life; so ministry opportunities keep me focused on higher things and serve as a block or barrier to allowing my mind to go down some lesser roads. These parts of a typical day provide a natural environment in which to pursue purity of thought. But again, the problem is, I’ve turned it all around to being all about my spiritual state instead of the eternal state of the person who hasn’t yet crossed the line of faith.
The Apostle Paul said:
Phil. 1:18 (excerpt)(NIV)…But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice…
But in so saying, his focus is on the lost people who matter to God. But on the other side of the conversation, my efforts need to be a whole lot less about me.