Time is precious.
You only have so much time to serve the Lord Jesus. As you follow Him, your hardest choices will not be between obedience or disobedience but between worthwhile and worthless service.
Not every attempted act of service has the same value and some have no value at all! (cf. 1 Cor 3:11-15).
I struggle with focusing on doing the best things. After all, you support this ministry so that we can do ministry. So, for example, how much time should I spend arguing with people?
But it’s not that simple. I rarely talk to someone knowing it will start out as an argument. Instead, what happens is this: every day, people reach out with questions. Sometimes those questions turn into dialogues and conversations and back-and-forth interactions. But then, almost imperceptibly, the tone can shift, and a passionate discussion turns into an argument.
As it happens, I like debating. To a point. I was on the debate team. I like how arguments can help me understand my own position as I try to defend it. But I don’t know how eternally profitable it is. And there’s a fine line between debating and arguing.
At what point does an intense dialogue turn into an argument? At what point in an argument should you walk away? Does Jesus consider arguing as ministry? Should I spend any amount of time arguing with people?
Proverbs warns against arguing with fools (Prov 26:4) and Paul warned Timothy against getting into petty arguments over words:
Remind them of these things, and solemnly exhort them in the presence of God not to dispute about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the listeners (2 Tim 2:14).
But is it petty to argue about grace and everlasting life? It’s not only about “words”—lives are at stake, right? So shouldn’t you argue?
Here’s some advice from Everett Cattell:
“Witnessing is not arguing. I used to get a thrill of self-satisfaction when, with fellow university students, I found I could hold my own arguing an evangelical faith. But nobody got converted by it. Whenever I find myself arguing religion with any one now, I know I am failing. In witnessing there is no argument. It is sharing, and if the thing you share is not real it is false witnessing” (Cattell, Spirit of Holiness, p. 19).
Instead of arguing, share grace with those who need it.
Witness about how God’s grace changed your life and rescued you from the spirit-crushing experience of Lordship Salvation.
But maybe think twice before arguing.