My friend Linda told me how she became a Christian: She was working for an insurance company in the 1970s, and a newly saved co-worker told her: "Jesus died for your sins." Linda got excited.
That was the co-worker's evangelism? I thought. Wow, the Spirit must have been just champing at the bit for an opening in Linda's armor. He must have been seeking any opportunity-and been willing to piggyback on any thin or lame evangelistic attempt-to save the one He was bent on saving.
Not so, I thought better afterward. This is precisely the way the Spirit prefers to work-with "the folly of what we preach" (1 Corinthians 1:21), with the simple "word of the cross" (1:18), "preach[ing] Christ crucified" (1:23), "not with words of eloquent wisdom" (1:17), not with "lofty speech" (2:1).
In fact, according to the Apostle Paul, eloquence is counterproductive. It only muddies the waters, muffles the calling. The fella leaves an eloquent and erudite conference and can't tell if his faith is resting on finely honed arguments and exegesis or on the power of God. Paul (and God) wants to leave no room for mistake. God wants a faith that will hold once the afterglow of eloquence has faded the morning after.
Note to self: Explain the gospel as simply as I can-the better to make room for the swooping power of God to rush in like a mighty wind.
"And my speech and message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).