Question: When I began to learn about God from the Tomorrow’s World program, the magazine and the booklets you sent me, I thought my family, friends and co-workers would be as excited as I was about discovering the truths I have found. So I was very surprised by their negative reactions. Was I doing something wrong by trying to share what I am learning?
Answer: You may have made a mistake that people often make when they first come to understand the wonderful and exciting truth about God’s plan of salvation for humanity. When you know how wonderful this knowledge is, and how it has changed your life, it is natural to want others to share in your joy. Certainly, Christians are not to hide their faith "under a basket" (Matthew 5:15). However, the foundational way that Christians are to share their faith is by setting a Christ-like example in their conduct (1 Peter 2:21). Yes, we must be ready to give an answer, to anyone who asks, for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15). But even if people are not asking us about doctrine, they still see how we act. Generally, when people see your personal example as a Christian—when they see true Christianity’s effect on your life—they will be more likely to ask you about what you believe.
No matter how excited you may be about what God is teaching you, you cannot—by the force of your words—"preach" someone into God’s Church. Scripture makes it clear that it takes a calling from the Father—not the excitement of a friend or relative—to enable someone to understand what God has revealed. Remember: "Jesus therefore answered and said to them, ‘…No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught by God." Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me’" (John 6:43–45).
Yes, God decides whom He will call—and we know from His word that He is only calling a relatively small handful of "firstfruits" in this present age, who will take part in the "first resurrection" at Jesus Christ’s return. Notice: "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints’" (Jude 14). Although more than two billion people alive on planet Earth today profess to be Christians, the actual number of true Christians whom God has called is far, far less than that.
Of course, we know that God will eventually give everyone who has ever lived the opportunity to understand the Bible and to receive eternal life. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:33–34).
To most people who hear the true Gospel preached today, it will simply be a warning "witness" of what is to come. Out of the many who hear the truth preached, God is calling only a "little flock" in this present age (Luke 12:32). The vast majority of human beings remain blinded (2 Corinthians 4:3–4)—and this is part of God’s plan, as He knows that these people are not yet ready for their calling. Indeed, trying to shine the light of truth into the mind of one who is blinded will often just bring persecution on whoever is holding the lantern. "Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you" (1 John 3:13).
So, let your Christian deeds speak for you. If someone asks about your faith, share what has helped you learn and grow. But do not think that you can force God’s truth on those around you. Pray that God will work with those you love, but trust in Him—not in your own efforts—to know when it is His will that they be called.