Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Offering Pearls to Fifth Grade Crushes

When I was in 5th grade, I had a crush on a short, blonde girl named Vanessa. She thought I was a dork who was wasn't worth her time but I liked her anyway. At one point I wrote her a letter telling her how much I liked her and why I liked her. For a fifth grader it was a fairly gushing letter. But Vanessa read it once, then made sure I was watching and crumpled it up and tossed it in the trash. Then she made a point of mocking it with the other girls later in the day while I was walking behind them in line. Looking back, I can't believe how much time I wasted on Vanessa and girls like her who weren't even willing to give me a chance before I finally came to my senses and looked for a girl who was more worthy of my affection.

In Matthew 7, a passage in which Jesus was telling his listeners how to deal with other people, he said, Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you (Matthew 7:6, NLT). Jesus was talking about wasting our time with people who couldn't care less about what we are offering them, just like I wasted my time offering my affection to Vanessa.

From time to time we will encounter people to whom we want to offer something precious: our respect, our wisdom, our love, the opportunity to hear the Gospel, or any other number of things. Normally, we discover very quickly who is interested in what we have to offer and who isn't. The ones who aren't interested are those who take what we offer, trample on it, and then turn on us. I've had conversations about the Gospel with people who genuinely listened to what I had to say and, while they may not have accepted it or embraced it, they were willing to listen and consider. But I have also had conversations about the Gospel with people who immediately began mocking what I had to say and trying to turn the conversation back around on me to demonstrate how little they thought of me. This second kind of conversation is an indication not to waste our time with those people, especially because there are other people who are willing and/or eager to listen.

Whether it is the Gospel, our affection, or a gift we would like to give, don't waste your time throwing your pearls to pigs who will trample on what you offer and then turn on you. Instead, focus on those who are willing to consider what you have to offer. Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy.

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