About five years ago we started handing out a lot of Gospel tracts. We wanted people to have a way to contact us for more information after we had talked to them. We figured in this day and age, that online was a good way to go. We created a website and got a stamp and stamped the website onto the tracts. As we handed them out, and talked to people, we would point them to the website for more information and then tell them that they could contact us that way. About 18 months ago, we obtained a Google Voice phone number for the ministry and started printing that phone number on the tracts as well. Between the website, email and phone we receive a few contacts a week.
I have had the honor and privilege of explaining the Gospel to people over the phone after they found one of our tracts and called me. Praise God!
I have also received calls of people complaining of tracts left around in hospital waiting rooms or at a certain restaurant. In the one case, the woman at the hospital claimed that the tract left on a table was solicitation and was offensive. When I asked what was offensive about it, she said she was not going to discuss that with me. She said she just wanted someone to “make note” of her call. So I did. In the case of one particular restaurant they claimed that someone was coming by every couple of days and putting the tracts on a sign outside of the door.
These types of calls present a diliema to me. While I can sympathize with the restaurant owner, there is little I can do about it. In the case of the hospital, I don’t see this as solicitation. In fact, in that case, I see it no different than if someone had left their book or wallet behind when they left the waiting room. With over 800 tract club members handing out tracts, it is nearly impossible to know who hands out what tract where.
What this all boils down to is that sometimes in our zeal to share the Gospel people get offended by our actions. This should never be. The message of the Gospel is offensive. However, the messenger should not be. Understand the difference? Paul wrote it this way:
“Then the offense of the cross has ceased.” (Galatians 5:11)
We got an email recently which said, “I was very offended by a person of your group harassing me at the airport. please dont let this happen to other people. it gives christians a bad rep.”
Notice in the case of the hospital, the person claimed that the tract was solicitation and a violation of their policy. However, it was the message that was offensive. In the case of the restaurant, the person was offended that someone left the tract on their sign. And in the recent email, the person was offended by the messenger. Peter wrote that the Gospel message is:
“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.” (1 Peter 2:8)
At a recent outreach we handed out a couple of thousand tracts. We found some of the tracts on the ground that people had discarded. In some cases the tracts were torn up and mutilated.
My assumption is that the people were reading the tract, got offended by the message or simply convicted by the Law that they could not handle it and tore the tract, folded it up and discarded it on the ground. However, I can’t think of a single person that told us that they were offended merely by us handing them the card. Those that did not want one merely said, “no thanks” and we moved on to the next person.
A couple of years ago we were open air preaching at an event at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The security guards came and spoke to us and said that people were complaining that our message was offensive. They asked us to leave. We know we were on public property, but since we were done anyway, we decided to leave. As we left, we went away rejoicing that we must have been preaching the Gospel faithfully to the scripture since they were offended by our message, not our actions.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
The cross is foolishness. The cross is an offense. As You Go and hand out tracts and share the Gospel with people, let the cross be the offense that it is. Let us not be the offensive by our words and actions.
Oh, my brethren! bold-hearted men are always called mean-spirited by cowards… You and I cannot be useful if we want to be sweet as honey in the mouths of men. God will never bless us if we wish to please men, that they may think well of us. Are you willing to tell them what will break your own heart in the telling and break theirs in the hearing? If not, you are not fit to serve the Lord. You must be willing to go and speak for God, though you will be rejected. – C.H. Spurgeon
We can not water down the message to make it “warm like honey”. No. We must boldly proclaim the truth of God’s word. Speak the truth in love. But, don’t let our words (or actions) offend. Let God’s word do that as the Law convicts and the Gospel saves!
If you would like to receive 30 FREE Gospel tracts per month and the encourage to hand out a tract every day, then enroll in the Bezeugen Tract Club!