Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

12.17.2010

The Pigeonholed Tool of Talk

Magnetic. Jubilant. Glowing. I’m positive you can think of someone who meets that description, but as I write those words I am thinking of an older woman that I got reacquainted with last week. I have only met this woman three or four times, but on each occasion there has never been a dull moment as she runs up to me with the biggest smile on her beautiful face and an even bigger hug for me, whom she treats as a beloved granddaughter. And from first hug to final embrace, her every sentence bubbles forth from a heart in love with her God and passionate to encourage girls of His love for them. “We are God’s girls!” she exuberantly told my sisters and I over and over. And even when the conversation turned to the topic of a friend she was ministering to who had recently lost her husband, somehow her words were still exhortational in the midst of the sadness. Because that widow--she's God’s girl, too!

As I said good-bye to this lady and opened my umbrella in the stormy parking lot, I couldn’t help but dwell on her amazing ability to brighten her corner and my day. All the way home, my sisters and I couldn’t stop talking about her—her sweet, gracious encouragement, her undeniable love for us and Jesus, and her passion for the cause of unborn babies. How? How did this woman encourage us so much? How did she manage to be the person that everyone wants to be around?  How did she manage to do this and not come across as the popular "it" woman, but the woman who could and would pick out the people no one knows at a party and instantly make them her best and oldest of friends? How did she manage to be all those things, and still not talk about herself, but focus her entire conversation on others, Jesus, and the person she was talking to?

I didn’t know how she did juggled all of those elements with such prowess, but on that car ride home, I suddenly realized that I wanted to be just such a juggler, too. More than anything, I want every person to leave a conversation with me stimulated and encouraged. I want every person to want to talk to me not because of me but because of Jesus in me. I want every person to feel loved and precious and oh so special simply because they talked to me!

Don't you think that conversation is one of the most overlooked tools of ministry God has given to us?  Yes, we use our tongues for ministry in a Bible study or when someone comes to us with a problem, or after church when discussing the sermon. But we are experts at pigeonholing the tool of our tongues.  At that Christmas party, with that girl you’ve only met three times and whose name you can’t even remember? Chit-chat abounds; small talk reigns king, and exhortational conversation is out the door. 

Cultivate the art of exhortational conversation we must if we would call ourselves corner-brighteners.

So first, converse not to entertain yourself but to minister to others. Don’t make a habit of practicing exhortational conversation with the life of the party—go to the corners of the room and to the people hanging around the food table with no one to talk to. Make your conversation matter, even if it is more difficult, and choose someone you may not know that well.

Be filled with Jesus Christ, or you will have nothing to fill others with. It is impossible to overflow with your excitement about the love of Jesus if you skipped your quiet time that morning. Believe me—it just is! So make a point, even in this busy time, to spend that time with the Lord each morning, for that is imperative if you are to truly brighten your corner with God’s light, and not just the light of your own charisma.

Smile broadly, and take the lead in revolving the conversation around Christ. Small talk is a waste of time—just dive right in and say, “You know, I am just so overwhelmed at Christmas time by the love of God when I think about how He sent Jesus to earth for us. Isn’t that just unbelievable?” 

Ask stimulating questions. There are some people who can go on and on and on about what the Lord has been teaching them, all the while you are desperate to share that one problem or one bit of exciting news weighing heavily on your mind. If you have ever been in just such a situation, wishing that the person would simply stop to ask, “So what is new in your life?” then you know what I mean Make sure to take the time to ask about the other person’s life and get to know them.  Try asking, "What areas of need has God laid on your heart to be involved in ministering to?"  Then get ready to be encouraged yourself!

Being a compelling encourager and a joyful listener is not a matter of social expertise—it is a command of the Lord. Think of Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4: He went to the one whom all others rejected, He adeptly turned the conversation to spiritual matters, and He asked her pointedly to go and call her husband. The result of one conversation that could have been mere small talk? The spiritual awakening of an entire city, and overflowing, unstoppable joy. Romans 12:15 commands, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” 2 Timothy 4:2 profoundly urges, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

It can't get any clearer.  Now is the time to dedicate those tongues to God: are you an exhortational conversationalist or a chit-chat pigeonholer?

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

2 comments:

  1. What an encouraging post! "“You know, I am just so overwhelmed at Christmas time by the love of God when I think about how He sent Jesus to earth for us. Isn’t that just unbelievable?”"
    Well, Lauren, yes, it truly is unbelievable and put the biggest smile on my face reading that and just imagining a conversation like that with someone!
    Happy Friday

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  2. Thanks so much, Brandy! I always look forward to reading your sweet comments and it really brought me joy to know the post put a smile on your face! (-; Together, we'll use our tongues for God!

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