Approximately 70% of people who initially refuse to talk to me about Yeshua turn out to be quite open the next time I approach them. Does that surprise you?
When people reject my attempt to talk to them about Yeshua, I don’t have a great desire to approach them again. However, I wait awhile and approach them again anyway. If I believed people when they tell me such things as, “I don’t need your Jesus,” “I need nothing from you” or “I don’t believe in God,” I would never minister to anyone!
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Every day, we participate in a war for souls; every hour, we fight. It’s very important to remember that opposition is not directed at us personally, but at the One whom we bring. Understanding that we should not take rejection personally helps us to persevere.
“Even when people refuse the prophetic ministry of proclamation, they will usually accept the priestly ministry of prayer.” -Moishe Rosen, Jews for Jesus founder (excerpted from a training lecture)
In addition to accepting the fact that many people’s first impulse will be to reject our message, we need to learn from Yeshua how to bring the good news. We see how He answered people—He always spoke to their underlying issues or needs. We need guidance from the Holy Spirit to be able to respond that way. It’s not easy, at least it’s not for me, because I always want to take an opportunity to show that I know something. Then I remember that my message is not about me or what I know, but how people need Messiah Yeshua who was crucified and raised from the dead.
When a Jewish man named Leonid told me he wasn’t interested in Jesus and asked me not to call again, I asked how I could pray for him. Curiously enough, he shared his prayer requests with me. Two months later, I called and inquired if the problems he had asked me to pray about had been solved. He answered, “Yes.” This time he was ready to hear about Yeshua, and by our third conversation he was ready to talk, not just by phone, but at his home with an open Bible.
There are many such examples. I don’t know if I will see the gospel come to fruition in Leonid’s life. I do know that if someone tells me not to call again, it might not be the end of the story. We do not want to intrude and continually call where we’re not wanted. But we do need to display a little persistence. After all, it’s better if they scold me first and come to know Yeshua later, than if they love me, but don’t come to know Messiah Yeshua.
Igor Spivak leads our branch in Kharkov, Ukraine