Public Apologetics Part 2: Introverts, Extroverts, and the Stewardship of Time and Talent
by Holly Ordway
In my previous post in this series, I talked about the way that introverts often feel pressured to share their faith in the same way extroverts do – and why that’s a bad idea. I noted that the more reserved among us don’t respond well to the talk-to-strangers approach (either on the receiving or on the giving end). Now I want to develop that idea a bit further.
I can imagine someone saying: But shouldn’t an introvert make the effort to share the Gospel wherever he or she goes, no matter what? I mean, that conversation you force yourself to have might be uncomfortable to you, but that discomfort is nothing compared to saving a soul from eternal damnation!
No pressure, right.
I’ll agree with this point in one, very limited way, which is: Yes, my personal discomfort is nothing compared to the eternal fate of a human being.
However, I strongly disagree with the connection that many (well-intentioned) Christians immediately make: that since sharing the Gospel is so important (it is), one-on-one personal conversation about the Gospel is therefore essential for all Christians.
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It all comes down to good stewardship.
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25), the servants are entrusted with money while their master is away. The good and faithful servants go off and engage in trade such as to increase what they were given, and are praised by the master on his return. Note that in the parable, no specific mention is made of exactly how the servants doubled their master’s money – only that they put it to good use. Consider also how St Paul emphasizes the diversity of gifts in the Body of Christ. It seems to me that Scripture assumes that people have different gifts, to be used in diverse ways – and certainly the history of the Church and all her glorious saints shows that there are all sorts of ways to glorify God and do His work in the world.
Our gifts include talent (in the modern sense, of ability and vocation), time (we all have 24 hours in a day), and energy. Apologetics and evangelism, to be done effectively, must take into account all these things — or else it can easily become an exercise in self-aggrandizement or a response to peer pressure.
How is one best to use one’s gifts to share the Gospel?