In hearing the narration of Your life over and over again in the gospels it strikes me that You never led people so much as You invited them to follow. In fact, they came to You first, then You invited them. This coming to You and Your invitations often took place in out-of-the-way spots. The point being that there was no advertising or blatant aggressive recruiting or pursuit on Your part but rather a gradual “magnetic” attraction that developed, at least partially, because of its “soft sell.” It is not You but we who have put the “hard sell” spin on Your message. Preachers and evangelists abound and most of them, I guess, are pretty well-intentioned and sincere, but they are mostly devotees of the “hard sell” and, historically, people are more often put off than convinced by the hard sell.
The spiritual hard sell is inevitably attached to our inclination to control God and make Him conform to our own ideas. With the soft sell, the core is humility. With it we seek not God’s apparition before us but our own presence to accept His embrace.
There is the very strong human inclination to proselytize and to convince others of our beliefs. This can be born of a certain self-righteousness that is at odds with the humility inherent in letting our lives speak for themselves – as You did. If the life we lead is genuinely attractive to others or offers insight to them, the soft sell is in effect without conscious effort.
I am guilty of writing letters and sharing thoughts with my children in hopes of convincing them of my truth – my reality. With those we love most it is so hard to just live our lives and let it be. The nature of our witness compels us toward sharing and, hence, the hard sell. Learning to let go and allow You to work through us as the Father worked through You is a deliberate act of missing “opportunities.” But that is what we must learn to do. When the self is gone You will shine through and that will attract others and You will invite.