What if they say no?

Recently we wrote about asking others to read the Bible. The writer of one Bible-reading resource claims that up to forty-percent of his colleagues have said yes.

That’s pretty amazing, challenging and motivating. But it does beg the question: what about the sixty-percent?

How should we feel if our friends, colleagues, team-mates, or neighbours say no? It happened to me recently.

Was it me?

A friend has been asking about my faith. We’d had some good discussions so I thought I’d see if she wanted to read the Bible.

We had a conversation over lunch and I asked God to give me an opportunity to ask. He did, and I took the plunge and asked the question.

She said no.

Naturally, I was disappointed. But it was more than that - I felt like I’d failed.

Should I have let our friendship grow more before asking her? Had I asked her in the wrong way? What could I have done better?

It is God

But these questions all ask questions of me, when our mission to reach people depends on God. I can’t create a desire in my friend to read God’s word.

Only God can do that. And he’s in absolute control.

And besides, all is not lost. I can show her Jesus in the way I love her, talk to her, care for her. And maybe one day she’ll change her mind. She knows I’m here.

God’s plan to save people is different to my plan (John 3:8). He calls us to sow the seed (Luke 8:11), but only God can make it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6).

We should expect rejection when we sow God’s word (Luke 10:10,16). But for every three rejections, God may have been working in the life of one who’ll say yes.

So, it’s got to be worth asking.