Sharing the Gospel By Showing Concern
When competence and character combine they create trust that lends credibility to our words. When joined by godly concern for others, they give our witness power. It is true; people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.
Showing concern for others is not an option for followers of Christ. It is what Christians do—the natural outworking of our relationship with a gracious God. Kind words and gracious actions that impact others come from within, not from mere obligation or religious duty. When people see our genuine concern, they see Jesus alive in us.
We show concern by our words. What we say and how we say it speaks volumes about who we are, what motivates us, and how much we care about others. The apostle Paul allows little wiggle room when it comes to thoughtless words.
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Consider the wisdom about words from the book of Proverbs:
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue can break bones. (Prov. 25:15)
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse. (Prov. 10:32)
One who gives an honest answer gives a kiss on the lips. (Prov. 24:26)
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. (Prov. 25:11)
And even when we must deliver rebuke, we are to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
We show concern by listening to others’ words. Our willingness to listen and receive input from others sends a powerful message. It says, “I care what you think; you have something valuable to contribute.” When we ask questions and listen with focused attention and a humble spirit, we invite trust and cooperation in our workplace as well as personal relationships.
Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19)
We listen not just because it’s good leadership or reflects well on us, but because the person speaking is an individual made in the image of God and deserves our respect even when that image has been distorted.
We show concern by our actions. Gracious speaking and listening should be accompanied by corresponding behavior. The way we respond toward others in the midst of daily stress and success reveals whether we care more about others or ourselves. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus taught his disciples that spiritual leadership is not about doing big things. It is about being a servant.
Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Small acts of kindness can light up a dark room or a dark workplace.
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4.)
Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. (Phil. 2:14-15)
Given the negative perception many people have of Christians, Christianity does not look like a faith most people can relate to, much less benefit from—unless we show them differently by our competence, character, and concern.
Developing relationships with the people we work around should never be a strategy to manipulate them into a conversation about faith, but a way to genuinely grow to love them more deeply and learn how we can serve them.
Here’s the bottom line. Competence, character, and concern together create a powerful apologetic for the gospel and with the Spirit’s nudging can open a door for gospel conversations.
See 1 Corinthians 1:3-5; Colossians 3:12-14.