It's a question I have to ask whenever I am at the register at work. "Are you on our mailing list to receive coupons? Your total today is..."
Some people are on the mailing list already. They have the coupons that got sent to them in the mail or by email, they use them, and they grin at the savings as the total $$ decreases.
Then there are the people not on the mailing list.
"Did you have any coupons today? Are you on our mailing list?"
"Would you like to be? All you need to do is fill out this card with your name and..."
How they respond is interesting. Some of them are already grabbing a pen looking for the place to sign up.
Some of them are in a hurry and want to take it along and think about it.
And some just cut me off with a quick "No, that's okay."
Today it occurred to me, in many ways this is a lot like how people respond to the Gospel message.
The first way is that those of us working for the Lord are required to ask people if they want to be on the mailing list. We are supposed to share the good news of salvation with everyone and offer them the opportunity to be saved.
The second way is that while some already have their coupons in hand and know all about the saving work of Jesus there are a lot that don't and are just waiting to be told. "Oh, that's great," they say "No one's ever mentioned this to me before. What do I need to do to sign up?" They're eager to get on God's list.
The third way is that many people will take what you've said and want to make a decision later. They don't want to stop to do this right now, they have other things that are more important to them, and all you can do is hope they remember what you said.
The forth way is that some people just don't want to sign up. No matter what they're not putting their name down, they're not joining anything, and they're certainly not interested in praying anything. They're "okay" just like they are and they don't want whatever you've got no matter how good. That's their choice. All you can do is ask the question.
And that's the fifth way. All we can do is ask the question. We're not responsible for how people respond. We can tell them about the savings from coupons or about Salvation through Jesus Christ, but we can't control how they respond. God knows that. He only requires that we ask the question.
Are we asking the question?