This concept is based on the time that Jesus sent His disciples on an outreach trip (Luke 10). He told them to find a “man of peace” and stay with that person as they attempted to evangelize. Some missionaries have taken that as a principle for evangelism. As they reach out, they are looking for someone who is interested and that is who they target… even to the exclusion of others. They would argue that you should only share the gospel with people whom God has prepared to receive you and that there is not reason to waste time on people who are not interested.
So should we be selective in who we evangelize? Scripture indicates the opposite since we are to take the gospel to every person everywhere (Mark 16:15). Jesus’ command was to take the gospel to every person… not just the one who seems to be interested.
That seems to be a contradiction to what Jesus said about the “man of peace.” The key to understanding this is context. In the same instruction where Jesus talked about the man of peace he also said: “Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way” (Luke 10:4). It seems to be a selective hermeneutic to apply the “man of peace” thing but not the “take no money” part of the instruction. I don’t see many missionaries leaving without some promise of support. It is important to note that later on Jesus reversed this instruction for his disciples (Luke 22:36) so it was obvious this was a one time strategy that Jesus gave to those disciples at that point in His ministry.
There is no way we can forecast who will become a Christian. I’ve found that I’m really bad at figuring out who is the next person to receive Christ. The ones I think will… don’t, and the most unlikely to become Christians, do. It seems obvious that if someone is interested in the gospel, you will give them special attention but that does not mean neglecting everyone else. There are many times that people reject the gospel the moment they hear it but some later time turn to Christ. The Word of God is living and powerful and it keeps working on the hearts and minds of people long after we have delivered it. It may be hours, days or years before they accept the message. Our job is not to figure out who will become a Christian… our job is merely to give the message.
Jesus gave the parable of scattering the seed as an illustration of how the gospel works. Some reject it… others respond but don’t last long and others experience genuine repentance. One of the applications of this parable is that the sower just sows. He scatters the seed without concern that some may fall in rocky soil or that birds may eat it. The sower just throws it out there. Thus our role of a sower is to simply scatter seeds.
So I’m not looking for a man of peace. Look for anyone who will listen.
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