Things came to a head when one day her friend asked yet another question, and my mom replied with some degree of exasperation, “Listen, [friend’s name], at the end of the day, the Lord has either chosen you or He hasn’t.” She couldn’t believe those words had come out of her mouth, and she wished immediately that she could take them back. It had been an unguarded moment. But do you know what? The Lord used that moment to break through to the heart of her friend, who trembled at the thought that she might not be chosen, and she immediately moved to be reconciled with Christ. She has been walking with Him ever since. That “unguarded moment” was a moment when my mom risked the whole thing—just as stewards do.
This also helps us with our greatest theological objection to witnessing—if God has already chosen who will believe, why should we witness at all? In reality, this is simply a subset of a broader question—if God is sovereign over everything, why should we do anything? Why plant and harvest crops? Why have and raise children? Why get an education? Why get out of bed? The answer to all of these questions for the Christian is the same: by His sovereign arrangement, God has called us to express that we belong to Him by faithfully stewarding what He has entrusted to us. He has entrusted to us our bodies, so we plant and harvest and plan our meals. He has entrusted to us our minds, so we read and study and learn. He has entrusted to us a progeny, so we have children and raise them. And He has entrusted to us relationships with those who do not (or do not yet) believe, so we give a faithful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In all of these things, not just the last of them, God is utterly sovereign, and the results are His. But in all of these things, including the last one, we are called to express that we belong to our sovereign Lord and to express that belonging as faithful stewards.
When we think of God’s sovereignty, we think of God’s “control,” “determination,” “predestination.” But we should also think of God’s “mine.” “Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine,” He declared to Job (Job 41:11). As the sovereign Lord, He has the right to do what He will with the things that are His. Those things include our relationships with unbelieving spouses, children, parents, neighbors, and friends. What relationships in our lives do we need to offer up to the sovereign Lord as “His,” and then treat as a stewardship to be ventured for His glory, not a possession to be controlled for our preferred outcome?
As you learn to think and pray in these ways, we will gradually find witnessing less daunting and more natural. We will find a new joy in our relationships with unbelievers as we no longer carry the false burden of control and a new boldness in our conversations as we feel free to leave the results to the Lord. All of this is possible because He is a good, wise, and altogether sovereign Lord who “from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass” (Westminster Confession of Faith 3.1).