Should you share your faith the first time you meet someone? The answer is “yes” and “not always.” Both are true.
With most people, my desire is to share Christ with them in our first conversation. My reason is twofold. First, I take seriously the brevity of life, and there is no guarantee the person will be here tomorrow. Neither is there any guarantee that I will be here to talk with them: “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The time to share Christ is today not tomorrow.
Second, I may be the last person out of a long line of people God is using to bring a particular person to Christ. In other words, though someone else may have done the cultivating, God may grant me the joy of reaping. If God wants to use me to be the final person to bring that individual into the body of Christ, I want to be available for that purpose.
Sometimes, however, it’s neither practical nor possible to share Christ with everyone I meet. I may have a plane to catch or an appointment to make. A busy waitress may be preoccupied (and rightly so) with waiting on other tables.
Other times, I simply sense that the other person is not ready to converse on spiritual matters—sometimes this is hard to gauge, but it gets easier with practice.
When I hold back, I want it to be because of something in the above areas, not because of a lack of boldness on my part. There are those who lack boldness that use the excuse, “The person was not ready for the gospel.”
Speaking to a person about Christ at the first introduction is a commendable goal. At the same time, we need to be just as obedient in holding back when—for any number of reasons—they’re just not ready or the situation is not right.
For times like these, I always carry a tract in my pocket. If I don’t have enough time or am unable to make the transition from the secular to the spiritual, I can still leave them with something to read.