A Walk In the New Forest
It is a wonderful gift from God to have meaningful conversations with people. Real, honest and open, God-honouring purposeful discussion that is rooted in love for people. It may be a chat over coffee or while out walking. In fact this gift is a conduit of revelation. And that type of conversation has the Lordship of Jesus at its centre! In other words, the Word becomes flesh and blood and lives in our neighbourhood.
However, the power of redemptive language is equally at home talking about making sandwiches, servicing the car or doing the washing up. The shocked Samaritan woman who met with Jesus at the well was liberated and redeemed through this conduit of revelatory conversation. That is surely the mark of the Christian community. And yet, while out on a walk in the New Forest recently it occurred to me that we may well have lost our way a little in the art of meaningful, God-centred conversation.
Proclamation and Conversation
If we consider the emphasis of most church services today the focal point is often on the preaching! And, although we believe there is a place for proclaiming the good news it needs to be kept to a minimum. Preachers are often answering questions that no one is asking. We are not called to disseminate information! It is the engaging love of Jesus, through a friend, asking me the kind of questions that transform my life. “Do you love Me?” Jesus asked Peter. We must be done with the old compartmentalising of our lives! There is no division between sacred and secular. All of life is sacred.
People need to know that the community of God cares about them. After all, like Jesus, we have the words of life! So, let us encourage one another to regain the gift of ‘God talk’. Let us cultivate a listening ear. Sensitive, God-given conversation is conducive to people trusting you. Weary, worn and hurting people are looking for Good News not advice.
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” and “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”
(Proverbs 25:11, 24:26)
An Interesting Observation
It is interesting to note that The Book uses three different ways to describe communication.
55 times to describe ‘to bring Good News, to proclaim Good News’
61 times ‘to be a herald of good news’
296 times ‘to speak or tell in a conversational way’
We can transform the way we share words of life together by giving Jesus his rightful place in our lives. It is the use of redemptive words that come out of ‘who we are’ that will count. Godly conversation is a powerful experience in sharing kingdom life together. We know this is true because it was the way Jesus showed us.