What’s more important?
“The world is full of educated fools”. “Book smart, not street smart.”
The distance from the brain to the heart, on average, is 12 to 14 inches. That’s a 12-to-14-inch stretch that makes all the difference in the world in where our faith ultimately lies. For the Christian it also makes all the difference in the world in how one can connect with others when sharing their faith. Put simply, words that come out of the mind hold no match with actions that come out of the heart when witnessing. Memorized scripture or having bible citations at the tips of one’s fingers to readily toss around with zeal, even honest zeal, in one’s tool bag for any available prey (often some unsuspecting soul) is worthless if one’s true way of life isn’t also on display. That’s showing off knowledge and not showing off the passion for that knowledge in a manner that shows how one truly lives.
Here’s my take on that; most folks can learn, memorize, and regurgitate what they learned, and no matter how passionately they regurgitate it, if it comes solely from the mind, it means little. If that knowledge has taken that 12-14-inch journey to the heart, and it becomes the guide for how they live, act, behave, react, and ultimately becomes a way of life that is their passion, they will be far more interested in building relationships first, before opening an all-out assault which they tend to call witnessing. The motive in the latter case is good, but not necessarily wise or effective. Simply put, many can learn knowledge (head), but not so many can learn passion for relationship (heart).
The heart is clear–unfettered by background, history, prejudices, biases, experiences, judgements, and more. The mind is subject to a degree of fuzziness because of all of those things and therefore its motivations are not as pure as the spirit indwelt heart.
I find it difficult to read into the words of Jesus in The Great Commission anything about getting into the faces of people with my beliefs or the gospel. And I won’t do it, unless I am invited to do so. Typically, that invite comes as a result of building a relationship with a person first, one in which they have seen, over time, enough significant evidence that I walk the walk and just don’t do the talk the talk. In dealing with total strangers that is especially true. To do otherwise can slam a well-intentioned door shut faster than a New York minute, along with, potentially, a bad taste for Christianity in general–all because of an overzealous person with a runaway mouth.
To my eye there is nothing in there that says to go out into the world and convert as many as you can. I see a huge difference between making disciples and converting many. Now, I’m not saying that they can’t or shouldn’t go hand in hand (making and converting), but what I am suggesting is that it is common knowledge, both worldly and biblically, that the focus on Jesus was relationships and relationship building. And that’s the part that comes of the heart–not the mind.
I think most would agree that the most direct route to a person’s soul is through the heart and not the mind. Why would anyone want to jeopardize that by coming at them with an “I know something that you don’t” method of sharing the Gospel? When that happens, I see roadblocks pop up all over the place.