“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

People often ask their pastors, “When I am standing face to face with someone who does not accept God’s Word, what should I say to their arguments? Give me an easy answer.”

Just remember this one rule: many people you meet aren’t looking for answers. At least, they don’t think so. Most people want to be heard. Rather than trying to answer each argument, try listening, and then ask a question. This rule seems to transcend cultures, and it definitely spans the centuries. Jesus seemed to show this when he talked with the woman at the well of Samaria (“Where is your husband?”) and the rich young man (“Why do you call me good?”). In encouraging the conversation, we allow people to identify their own needs at their own pace.

Can you actually share the gospel by asking people questions? They have to be the right questions. The questions must always lead to Jesus.

Of course, we want each instance to turn out as it did at Jacob’s well. Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone we talked to about Jesus brought back a town full of eager listeners? More often, even after asking “all the right questions,” people walk away from us sad, like the rich young man. That is when the promise from Isaiah chapter 55 comes in. Once the Word has been shared, once the seed has been sown, we trust God to bless the hearer. The Word will not return empty, but will accomplish God’s purpose.

Prayer: Lord, bless my listening. Bless my questions. Remember your promise, and accomplish your purpose through your Word.  Amen.