Objection: If we do not provide for their physical needs, they will not listen when we tell them of their spiritual needs
Answer: Our job is not to make them listen but to tell them the truth
This is probably one of the most heard objections there is. The story goes something like this:
We gave them [insert humanitarian aid]. Then when they received it, they knew that we cared and would listen to us as we gave them the Gospel.
It is a wonderful story and I know God can use it. I also sincerely hope that great things come because of that but my answer stands the same: our job is to proclaim the truth not make it more palatable.
Take for example, the story from Acts 14. Paul is in Lystra and heals a man. The people see this and run to him and Barnabas then try to offer sacrifices to them. Paul and Barnabas are horrified at what was going on. They told them to stop which they did. But Jews from Antioch and Iconium show up and cause trouble. They get Paul stoned and dragged out of the city.
Paul then gets up and says, “Well guys. It seems like they won’t listen to us very well so let’s go the next city and heal some more sick people. Maybe then they will listen.” No, that is not what happened. He got up and went to the next city and preached the Gospel. They never strategized about the best way to be listened to, they simply proclaimed the truth.
That is not only found in the book of Acts. That is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus, for many, is simplified into only caring for the sick, poor and marginalized. Jesus did all and better the things that people say to do in order to have an audience and for that audience to listen to Him. Yet, He was still crucified because He told them the truth.
Our calling is a calling of telling the truth. Whether or not people listen, that is up to them. I believe we should care for people and should let them know we care, but the greatest way we can show we care is to tell them of the One who loved them enough to die while they were yet sinners.