When I was around 8 years old, I went to a friend’s house for the first time. His mother was very pleasant and hospitable. She asked if I would like a glass of iced tea. I kindly declined, saying that I didn’t like iced tea.
This woman took my words as a challenge, and she quickly went into the kitchen to brew and flavor her “special”recipe. When she handed me the beautifully prepared glass of her favorite beverage, she made sure to tell me that the tea had several different kinds of freshly squeezed fruit and plenty of spoonfuls of sugar in it.
I took one sip and scrunched my nose. The sugar and fruit tasted good, but I wasn’t accustomed to the earthy flavor of tea. The woman looked very disappointed when I handed the cup back to her.
It took me over twenty-five years, but I finally started liking the inherent flavors of iced tea. I wish I could find that nice lady and ask for another glass. I’m sure this time I would savor the lovely cup of her special brew.
As Christians, we can present the Gospel in beautiful, creative and amazing ways; but if the receiver dislikes the taste of the Holy Spirit, there is no special recipe that will change his/her preference. A person needs to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit if he/she is going to embrace the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As Disciples of Christ, we can do our best to present the Truth to others, but if they reject the Holy Spirit, we can only pray that someday (even twenty-five years later) His presence will taste sweet to them.
“There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you deliberately persist in your slanders against God’s Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.”
– Matthew 12:31-32 (MSG)
“Father, help me to always focus on the presence of the Holy Spirit when I’m discussing my faith with others because I know that He always initiates the relationship with His people. And if someone rejects God’s Spirit, I pray that eventually one day that they will become more open to His movement. I trust that Your authority is so powerful and so unique that no one will be able to say that they haven’t been touched by Your presence….”
Alisa Hope Wagner