Your 50 Percent

I recently read somewhere that when it comes to art, “The artist only has 50% of responsibility in creation.” The person who engages with the art has the other 50%.

The painter paints. The viewer views.
The author writes. The public reads.
The band plays. The people listen.

In each case, the artist is only responsible for 50% of the transaction. How the person engaging with the art responds is their decision. And it’s not something that any of us can control. Some people will respond positively. Some negatively. It’s their choice.

The same principle applies when we share the gospel. When we share our faith, we only carry 50% of the responsibility. And this applies whether we’re witnessing to one person or preaching to crowds of thousands.

This reality should be liberating. As long as you faithfully and adequately deliver your 50%, you don’t have to feel the full weight of responsibility for the other person. I’ve met some people who carry a heavy weight of guilt because of the people in their lives who have yet to find life in Christ. They feel that it’s their fault their family or friends are going to hell.

Their problem is they have a God-complex. A compassionate one, but a God-complex nonetheless. They want to have complete control of the 100%. But the truth is we don’t. No person has complete control over how other people respond to the gospel.

It’s good to feel the weight of people’s souls. It’s motivating to your 50%. But it’s bad to carry around the weight of their will. That’s coveting their 50%. And it will load a weight of guilt upon you that you were never meant to bear. Jesus wants to bear their guilt. If they don’t believe, they will bear it. For your own sake, don’t take something that’s not yours to carry.

It can be frustrating and heartbreaking. There are going to be times when you want more for the people you’re sharing your faith with than they want for themselves. Times when you wish you could have 100% of the control.

But you don’t. You can only control what you do with your 50%.

Maybe you’ve been sharing your faith with a friend for years. But he keeps going further away.
Maybe you’ve been trying to convey the gospel with your parents. But every time, they just change the subject.
Maybe you’ve been preaching your heart out, but no one seems to be responding.

Don’t give up. The next time could be the time.
Give 100% to your 50%.
Pray for them like you’ve never prayed before.
And give them room to exercise their 50%.

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Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation Church meets at eight locations in the Charlotte area, as well as one location in Toronto, Canada. The church has been named one of the Fastest-Growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.