In 1986, a child actor named Gary Coleman started in a Television program called “Diff’rent Strokes.’ His spunky attitude and signature catch phrase — “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” — endeared him to audiences and helped him gain more roles.
It may sound obvious to say that our words matter but I’m not convinced that we really believe that. I say that because we spend a lot of time talking about things that don’t matter. We talk about about sports, politics, how unfair the boss is or how busy we are.
In Luke 6, Jesus says that the mouth says what the heart feels. In other words…we talk about the things that matter to us. Think about it. If someone tracked our speech; what would be revealed that matters to you? Where would Jesus, faith, and God’s mission rank in the subjects that matter to you?
I believe it’s fair to say that Jesus needs a little more volume in your life. He shouldn’t be a rare sighting in your public life! In the book of Acts, Peter and John are told to quit talking about Jesus and they respond by saying that they cannot quit talking about what they have seen and heard! There are many times in life where courage to speak. Even the great Apostle Paul asked for prayer in Ephesians 6:20. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
You can’t control much of what happens to you in life. You can’t control who your parents are, where you were born, and a variety of things that have a significant influence on your life.
But you can choose how you react to what life throws your way. We have all heard people say, “They make me so bad!” Technically that is not correct. People may do things to you, lie about you or even cheat you but you have the choice how you will respond. The choice is always yours. Proverbs 29:11 (GW) says, “A fool expresses all his emotions but a wise person controls them.”
When we are mistreated, the proper reaction isn’t to blow up or clam up. Instead of responding in anger, God has a better solution. “A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.” Proverbs 15:1
Here is the bottom line: Trust God to settle the score. After all, He has more and better resources to do that than you do.
A young ministerial student was reminded by his professor that one of the graduation requirements was he had to preach in front of his peers. He told him that he would be preaching at the next chapel service. He went to his room, got out his study books and began to prepare.
The day arrived for him to preach, he stepped unto the platform and said, “How many of you don’t know what I am going to say?” Hands were raised all over the chapel. “Neither do I. Go in peace, you are dismissed.” His professor met him as he was leaving the platform. “That message was not acceptable. I am going to give you a second chance.”
His second message began, “How many of you know what I am about to say?” Hands were raised all over the chapel. “Since you already know what I was going to say, there isn’t any reason for me to say it. Go in peace, you are dismissed.” His professor met him as he was leaving the platform and once again he said “That message was not acceptable either. I am going to give you one last chance.”
The next chapel service had a standing room only crowd. Everyone wanted to hear the student’s next (and maybe last) sermon. He began his message by saying, “How many of you do not know what I am going to say?” Half the room raised their hands. He continued, “How many of you know what I am about to say?” Half the room raised their hands.
He finished his message by saying, “Those of you that know what I was about to say; please tell those you do not know what I was going to say.” His professor shook his hand as he stepped down from the platform. “Excellent message my boy! Excellent.”
We that know the Good News of the Gospel must tell others that do not not know. Jesus said to his followers, “Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone.
It amazes me that people are able to communicate with each other just by having a certain look on their face. A mother can give her child a certain look and the child knows they are in trouble. A young man, trying to win the heart of a young lady, can tell by the look on hrt face whether his efforts are welcomed.
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He conveyed a range of emotions by the way He looked at people.
- Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…”
- Mark 8:33 “Jesus turned around. He looked at His followers and spoke sharp words to Peter…”
- Mark 10:21 “Jesus looked at him with love…”
But the most notable look that Jesus gave anyone was when He looked at Peter after Peter betrayed Him. Luke 22:61 “Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.”
But Luke fails to describe what that look conveyed. Anger? Sadness? Disappointment? Compassion? Though no one can say for sure, I am inclined to believe it was a look of compassion.
Have you ever spoken with a computer tech, doctor, mechanic, or someone who uses words that you have no idea what they are talking about but they take it for granted that you understand? I often drive by churches that have signs in front of the church that use jargon that only those on the “inside” understand. But I wonder if people on the “outside” understand.
But if we are trying to reach people who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, we must use terms they understand. To do that we have to ask ourselves, the word I am using, “Does it make sense to a non-believer?” We use words like: born again, salvation, saved, sinner, new birth, Savior, Holy Spirit, testimony, saved, repentance, witness, confess, found the Lord, lost, and my favorite – inviting Jesus into your heart. Confusing?
We must assume that those we contact know nothing about Christianity. John 3:16 in the end zone means nothing to the average person. One of the reasons Jesus’ message was accepted by the common people was He used everyday words people knew. The test for every word, idea, concept should be: “Will they understand this? This is for them, not for us.” Otherwise, non-Christians will quickly come to their own conclusion: “This is for them, not for us.” Think about everything you say from the perspective of the person to whom you’re saying it.