The person of peace is the one who will open up the harvest to you, so it is very important that we learn to recognize a person of peace. It helps if we have a mindset where we are always looking for such a person. The Lord delights to answer the prayer, "Lord, lead me to a person of peace for this harvest field."
The answer comes in verse 7 of Luke 10. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.
A person of peace offers you hospitality. What does that look like in today's society? You may not get invited into a home (although in my experience, that is not uncommon). Let's say you have just started a new job, and after you've been there a few days, the lady in the office who everyone seems to revolve around says to you, "Some of us from the office go out for drinks on Fridays after work. Would you like to join us?" What has she done? She has offered you hospitality. She's opening up her circle of friends to you.
So what do you do? You could say, "Sorry, I don't drink. Not this time." In which case you've closed the door on a great opportunity. Or you could go and drink a beer (or a soda) and get to know the people in your office at a social level. She has opened up the office to you.
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6 replies on “How do you recognize a person of peace?”
I appreciate the sentiments expressed in this post, but I fear that many times, Christians view social situations like this merely for the end result they offer — in this case, an opportunity to witness to one’s friends at work. While I have no problem with this happening over the course of time and after a mutually trusting relationship has been forged, approaching going for drinks with work friends thinking primarily about the opportunity it presents ignores a basic fact about all humans, Christians included: We need these interactions to survive.
It’s not a one-sided benefit — we receive just as much, sometimes more, as we give when we have these social interactions. At times, we talk (and write) about entering these “secular” social situations as if we could do without them, if not for the simple fact that we have to enter them to get people saved. This approach is wrongheaded and will leave us disappointed more often than not.
I’m trying to stop viewing parties, drinks with friends, camping trips, open houses, rec sports teams, and other social activities as mere “opportunities.” (because that makes me an opportunist and my friends mere projects) Instead, these social outlets (just like my interactions with believers) are an extension of who I am, a necessary aspect of being human.
Again, I’m tracking with what you’re saying here, Felicity, and don’t mean to split hairs … I just had to mention my perspective on the ways I’ve noticed Christians often speaking of such things.
I agree with Steve. Good point. Authenticity is a key. I think too, that it’s OK to gravitate socially toward people we naturally get along with. If I don’t like classical music but hang out with someone who does listening to Beethoven, aren’t I just doing it because it’s an “opportunity”, instead of hanging out at the baseball game with another person because I genuinely enjoy going to the game with them. I may be able to find other things in common with the the classical music fan, but God wired me a certain way and I think meant for me, for the most part, to hang out with people wired the same way as me. But perhaps I know another classical music fan I can introduce him to. Of course, we all need to be adaptable and grace-filled, but generally speaking …
Another thing, we believers tend to erect so many barriers between us and not-yet-believers. Drinking or bars is one of them. What’s wrong with accepting a beer, or suggesting a coke instead, in the backyard on a hot Saturday afternoon from your neighbor and shooting the breeze for a bit? If I refuse, I offend him and tell him that me not drinking beer is more important than my relationship with him.
Everything you said applies 100% to all human beings, not just Christian-nonChristian relations. Let me be clear as well — I’m not saying we never do something we don’t typically do for the sake of relationship. What I’m cautioning is the tendency for Christians to seek relationship with people primarily for evangelistic purposes. My point is that we need those relationships — and the beers, the parties, the rec leagues, etc. — with people different from us purely because we are human.
Another way of saying it might be that I’m uncomfortable on one level with the “person of peace” language, because I’m afraid it causes us to walk through life searching high and low for buried “relational treasure” — and all with an evangelistic motive. It’s sort of akin to single people searching for “the one” whom they will marry. What happens is that we begin to gauge new friendships not on the merits of commitment or mutual trust, but by receptivity to an evangelistic message.
I’m agreeing with you Steve. I was just riffing on a couple points. I think the key is for us to be genuine human beings and you’re right to point out the danger of looking at people as projects, etc. As we deal in a genuine way with people, we shoudl pray that God will reveal to us the person of peace and not that it be us selecting the person of peace. Peter never would have selected Cornelius. The disciples never would have selected the woman at the well. We must work and pray to follow God’s leading.
Dan and Steve,
Some good thoughts here. People will see through us straight away if all we are not genuine in our friendships with them. Having said that, Jesus’ strategy in Luke 10 was to look for a person of peace. That might be someone who we would never normally befriend. For example, one day the Lord told me to walk a certain street. Long story short, when I came across a low-income housing project, the Lord said to start a church there. We met our person of peace who opened up her family to us and we started a church there.
I would never in the normal course of events have come across that lady. But she made us part of her family. Even though she has since graduated to heaven, her family are still our friends.
hey i did everything you said. Thanks