When you begin to fully understand and put into practice The Law of Reciprocity your effectiveness in shining the Light of Christ and sharing the Gospel will grow by leaps and bounds. The Law of Reciprocity simply says:
"When someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. As a matter of fact, you may even reciprocate with a gesture far more generous than their original good deed."
The word "Reciprocity" simply means to exchange something with another person for mutual benefit. Here's how the Law of Reciprocity when you do something nice, kind or meaningful for another they feel compelled to reciprocate and do something for you in return.
This law has been practice in all kinds of fields and professions. Salesmen have used it to gain contracts from prospective clients; governments have used it to build their international relationship with another country; and even law enforcement have used it to entice potential witnesses.
This law is powerful in tugging on the emotional strings of people. People feel compelled but not manipulated to return the favor and show the same kind of kindness that was shown to them.
Here's how it works when it comes to living a powerful missional life! Let me give you two scenario's:
Let's say you have a co-worker that's become seriously ill and landed themselves in the hospital. You hear about and take the initiative to go over to the hospital with a card and flowers to see how they are doing. Immediately, as you arrive with the card and flowers in hand you have struck an emotional chord with your co-worker. Your thoughtfulness of taking time out of your day and taking money out of your pocket has just made a huge deposited into your co-workers emotional bank account. As the two of you talk you find out that they are very nervous about their physical health and unsure of what the future holds for them. So, in response you ask your co-worker if you could pray for them, their healing and for the doctors as they treat them. The Law of Reciprocity kicks in. Because you have given to them by taking time out of your day and buying the beautiful flowers and because they have a real fear they say, "Oh yes, please do.". After you pray for them right then and there you then ask them if you can share with them a story out of the Bible that you feel might give them some comfort and hope. The Law of Reciprocity kicks in again and they say, "Please do." So, you tell them one of the stories of Jesus healing a person and how their faith in Christ allowed the healing to come.
Let's say you have decided to shine the Light of Christ in your own neighborhood and you are going to go door to door in your neighborhood talking about Christ. Instead of just knocking on someone's door and asking if you can share with them about Jesus (which will more than likely get an immediate "NO") you implement the Law of Reciprocity. Here's how it goes: You knock on the door and when the person answers the door you introduce yourself by saying, "Hi, my name is Jay Moore, (please use your name) I am one of your neighbors and I am just going around meeting my neighbors and because I know that the times are really hard for people I am also asking if there is anything going on in your life that I can pray for you about. Is there anything you need God to do for you? They may question you about if you are a Jehovah Witness or a Mormon Missionary. Just assure them that you are neither and that you are just a person who follows Jesus and you sincerely want to know if there is anything going on in their life that needs prayer. This is the Law of Reciprocity at work. You are not asking anything from them - you are simply and sincerely asking if you can help them through prayer. You will be surprised the number of people who will do need prayer and will be blown away by your gesture of kindness and will share with you their need. Once they share that need pray for them right then and there. And pray specifically for the need they shared. I have personally seen people in tears as I pray for them. Your sincere prayer is making a large deposit in their emotional bank account. After, you have finished the prayer ask them if you can come back in a week or two to see how they are doing. The Law of Reciprocity will make it easier for them to say "Yes". Now, that has opened the door for you to come back and share Jesus and the Gospel with them.
Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying,
"No one cares how much you know, until the know how much you care."
That's another way of explaining the Law of Reciprocity. If you come in the name of Jesus Christ and to share the Gospel with someone but first help them in their time of real need you will have built and emotional bridge that will allow the sharing of the Gospel to be well received. This is the reason why Jesus on the Sermon On The Mount said, "Let you light so shine before men in such a way that they see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven."
If you will implement this law to your everyday missional living by doing good and sincere deeds for people you want to reach with the Gospel before you go and share with them you will see dramatic results. THIS IS POWERFUL!