Vincent Donovan said,
Evangelization is a process of bringing the gospel to people where they are, not where you would like them to be… When the gospel reaches a people where they are, their response to the gospel is the church in a new place...[i]
We would do well to remember that the gospel is brought to people where they are. That changes how we approach people. Too often, we have tried to bring people to where we are instead of going to them.
This is the conditional, risky part of going to people. Some will accept your blessing of peace, while others will not respond or turn you away.
Opportunists may always be looking for a better job with more benefits. In God’s work, staying in struggle often yields a higher result. If someone does not respond favourably, let your peace return to you. Do not be emotionally shipwrecked because they won’t let you land on their shore. There’s also something to be said about staying with people long enough to become their friend.
Anyone can provide a bed and breakfast to a stranger, but life changes when we let people into our house for a longer stay. Sometimes, people who are trying to go to others bail too soon.
If you are doing God’s Kingdom work, you will bring peace and blessing where it is welcomed. It is important to know that making yourself vulnerable to others will also have the effect of gratitude and reward. Do not feel bad about other people wanting to bless you in return. If you’ve worked for the Lord, it is appropriate to be rewarded in some way.
Don’t get hung up on what you think you should get. Receive what you are given with a glad heart. I have sometimes received strange gifts and learned to show respect and appreciation to the giver. It reminds me of the time I was given a handmade pillow by a heavy smoker. I could never lay it under my head because the smoky smell was too strong, but I received it as if it were a bar of gold.
God’s work places us in the hospitality and care of others. Let’s learn to have a strong stomach and stronger heart of compassion.