If I asked you to bring me 25 quarters, what would you think I meant? A chef asked one of his kitchen helpers to get 25 quarters for him, but the man came back with $6.25 — exactly 25 quarters — in change.

When the young man returned to the chef, the chef scolded him, “No, I didn’t want 25 quarters. I wanted 25 quarter-chickens.” He got just what he asked for, but nothing he wanted, because he didn’t make himself clear.

When we tell people they have to give their hearts to Jesus or turn from their sins to be saved, we may get what we ask for, but we won’t get the results we wanted because we’re not being clear. How can a person, especially a child, understand what it means to give his heart to Jesus? One time a soul winner asked a child if he was ready to do this, and the child said he wouldn’t do it. When the soul winner asked why, the little boy said, “Because I need it.”

Telling people to turn from all known sins causes a similar problem. How can a person know if he has turned enough? What if he turns from his present sins, only to turn to a different sin later?

I realize that the people who say these things mean well, but if we want people to be saved, we ought to think about how they will interpret our instructions. We don’t want to be held responsible for misleading others. The Bible simply says we are to believe in Jesus Christ, so that’s what we should tell people.

Is there someone you’ve been trying to lead to Christ? You don’t have to say it like anybody else. Just tell them what the Bible says. Personally, I like to use verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 11:6. Find your own favorites and share them. God promises to bless the gospel. Let’s be sure to tell it like it is.

If you want to learn an effective way to “tell it like it is,” click here.

The gospel is open to all; the most respectable sinner has no more claim on it than the worst. — D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder