St. Francis de Sales used to say that you attract more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel full of vinegar. I'm sure there is a great deal of truth to that statement. But when I take a good look around I see that those flies who want to hear the Word listen well. But how often do we lick off the sweetness on the outside and throw away the rest?
As I examine my own life I realize that I am a pretty direct kind of person, and while I can be diplomatic, while I can speak with sweet overtones, I am probably more like the prophet Jeremiah who had such a fire in his belly that he had to speak God's Word with a boldness that usually angered people more than it attracted them. I know it's a good thing to challenge people in encouraging ways. However, I am convinced that there is so much sugar in everything else people hear today, that there's probably not much room for the sweetness of the Gospel.
Here's my question. How does the Church most effectively promote the Gospel to a culture that refuses to listen? What works best? Is a honey coated, spoonfed approach going to work better than a good old ass-kicking, or the old-timey revival approach? If I went to a street corner here in Genoa, Illinois, a nice quiet semi-rural community and started proclaiming the Gospel, would that work? If I went door to door and invited myself, or imposed my presence on the lives of this community, would that work? Or, should I just keep on doing my best to preach well, love the people I'm called to serve, and just leave it at that? I hope I get some responses to this blog. Unfortunately, I've run plum out of honey.