Have you ever played the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey? It is a fun group game where someone posts a picture of a tail-less donkey, then people take turns trying to tack its tail back on the proper place, a task at which few participants succeed. That is because the real enjoyment of the game comes from watching when players, spun and blindfolded earlier, miss the spot on the donkey, landing the tail on random, hilarious sites instead.
Although humorous as a game, there are situations in life when missing the mark is not at all fun and games. This is especially true when sharing our faith.
Do you ever feel like the truths of God you try to sow or ‘pin’ into another person’s life miss the mark?
Have you ever experienced times, where it seemed like the enemy so spun the circumstances around, that it seemed like the words bounced right off and fell to the ground?
As followers of Christ, we must be ready in season and out to share His truth in love. So often when we do, though, those same truths seem to fall on deaf ears. When we rarely see a harvest for our labor, it is easy to start concluding we missed the mark, from inadequate sowing.
Proverbs depicts the ideal:
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
When I read this, I imagine a canvas still life showing a fine silver goblet surrounded by luscious golden apples. Words of truth spoken in such a timely, Spirit-directed way that they reap a harvest as lovely as a masterpiece. Sadly, that is rarely the case anymore.
The reality of our culture is an outright refusal of truth, predicted years ago by the prophet Isaiah:
“And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (59:14)
Do you see this happening in your efforts to share the gospel? The precious words of Truth seem to fall on the street, left for trampling underfoot.
Does the lack of receptivity tempt you to give up?
If rejected, should we continue to cast the treasured pearls of God’s word, as if to swine?
We cannot and must not give up on anyone, but we do need to understand the mission. To explain, I’ll take us back to the game of Pin the Tail.
First, it is never our job to decide when, where, or how a person needs a word of truth. Our only responsibility is in the sowing, or for illustration purposes, the pinning of the Word.
Also, we must remember that although it can seem like it, we are not blindfolded or alone, as we go about this call. The Holy Spirit is always there to direct and give us the boldness needed in every situation. He is the One completely capable of effecting the intended purposes of the Word, despite the devil’s attempt to spin things in a wrong direction.
Even when we do not see results, we can rest assured that the Word does not come back void.
We always err in assuming that what we see now is the reality of what will be in eternity. Doing so only sets the stage for discouragement or the temptation to take matters into our own hands, both of which are futile. Discouragement weakens our own faith and self-effort only pins truth further away from the intended goal of winning people to Christ.
Finally, for effective truth-pinning, we don’t wear blindfolds, but actually could use blinders, of sorts. Anything that would enable us to shift the focus from an outside monitoring of truth’s effectiveness, to an inward inspecting of our own obedience. Willingness is all that God asks of us. He is Lord of the harvest and the One who gives the increase.
The word of God is NOT the tail, even though that is exactly what the enemy deceives people into believing. That God’s word is irrelevant, unnecessary.
Jesus is Author, Finisher, the living Word. He is Alpha, Omega and lifted high above all. We are the body of Christ, but He is always the Head.
Am I clear?
Like any other, this attempt at sharing truth may miss the mark. However, God knows how to pin His truth to accomplish His purposes, and as such, will use even this. That is because only He knows how to reach each of us lost (by nature, clueless as a donkey?) sheep!