How long are we to pursue someone for the Gospel? When do we, in a sense, give up and move on? In Acts, Paul and Barnabas go to Antioch and are rejected by the Jews and chief men of the city. They responded by shaking the dust off their feet when they left before moving on to Iconium. Why is this so significant? In Matthew 10:14 it states "And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town." To "shake the dust off your feet" was a symbolic gesture that you were to have no more to do with them and would take nothing that was theirs. Let them keep their dust. Their beliefs. So again, I ask: When do we move on from trying to save someone? Is it after we've shared the Gospel once, twice? After a month, a year, a decade? How long must a person reject the Gospel before we conclude that they will never believe and we shake the dust off our feet and move on?
I ask because in a sense I don't know. At the same time I would like to say the Holy Spirit would speak to our hearts when it's time to move on, but at the same time that can be so difficult. Now that's not to say we then ignore the person or remove them from our lives, that's not what I mean by "move on". But Jesus also said "Don't cast your pearls before swine." That is to say, as Matthew Henry puts it "Talk not of the deep things of God to those whom you know to be wallowing in sin." In other words, stop talking about God and the Gospel to those whom have no interest. We shouldn't dwell on one person forever. We must utilize our time and move on and share the Gospel with someone who will actually accept it. Maybe our involvement with them should be reduced to simply praying for them. Because literally that is the most we can do. As the old saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." I guess you could translate that to "you can lead a soul to living water, but you can't make him drink." When a heart is hardened against God, sometimes God decides it's best to leave it that way. As it was with Pharaoh, or when Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews "Where I am going you cannot come" (John 8). Jesus literally gave them a death sentence to hell. Not because He didn't offer them a chance of salvation, but because He saw the hardness of their hearts and knew they would never believe. He wasn't speaking authoritatively, but prophetically.
As always, most my blogs are very much relevant to me. That is why I write. There are family members who we have tried getting into the family of God for years. I have friends who I have shared the Gospel with numerous times, a few quite recently, but haven't accepted. Perhaps my involvement with them now should be to just pray, as I have been. To bring up the topic again would be to bring it upon deaf ears. It hurts to say that, but it's true. I wish I could bring up the topic everyday, or think of some new way to word it so as to persuade them. But nothing we do can ever persuade someone to believe. Only God's Word can do that. "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) After all, it is not our job to save souls. It is our job to reveal the Name by which they must be saved. We plant the seed and the Spirit does the rest. From there it is up to them to either accept or reject. Go out and plant seeds brothers and sisters, but waste not your water on the dust of those who will never accept. God Bless.