“More about M.O.R.E. Conversations”

Categories: Monday Morning Meditation

The woman left her water jar behind (John 4:28). The very reason she had come to the well in the first place was now relatively inconsequential. She had encountered the one who provides the water of life. Drinking water, at this moment, as important it was to her physical sustenance, was incomparable to the living water she had just tasted. This is what can happen when we intentionally initiate more conversations about M.O.R.E.

As we discussed yesterday, Jesus provides the answers to everything pertaining to this life that is of any consequence. The Gospel goes beyond giving us good news about what happens to us when we die, it provides good news for where we are in the here and now in our everyday circumstances. The problems brought about by money, our occupations, our relationships, or education (the list most certainly goes on) finds either an answer in the gospel or at the very least gospel offers a new perspective on it and thus a new way of relating to it.

In this way, virtually anything can be organically turned into a gospel conversation. Any need or problem provides a segue not only to talk about how Jesus fulfills our greatest need but how He also provides an answer to our other needs as well. This is good news for us as people called to talk to others about Jesus! If we are looking for an opening for the Gospel all we have to do is talk to somebody long enough for them to open up to us about their lives. Listen long enough (usually it is not very long at all) and they will begin to tell you about their problems and struggles. Here are a few quick tips as we strive to have M.OR.E conversations:

  1. Be a patient listener. Really listen. As tempting as it may be don’t just jump in with the answer immediately before you have allowed the person to air out whatever it is that’s they’re dealing with. What people often want is to feel heard and to be sympathized with. In short, they want somebody who cares. Husbands, we know this lesson all too well. We immediately want to jump in and fix the problem even before our wives have finished speaking. This impulse can be especially difficult to rein in when we’ve got the Gospel as the answer, but we must be patient. We will have time to speak but we must first be quick to hear.
  2. Don’t bail when they don’t show immediate interest in talking about Jesus. Remember, while our mission concerns speaking the truth, it is speaking the truth in love that is our motivation. We speak light and life into people’s situations because we actually care about them and where they are as a person. This ought to be true whether they obey the Gospel or not. But if we retreat or abandon ship the moment they show any hesitancy in talking about Jesus, what we communicate to them is that we never really cared about them in the first place. Perhaps they were just a number to us. A box to check. Or a token to ban. Besides, we never know what God can do with the seed that we helped plant at a later point in time. We probably have a pretty good picture, however, of what Satan can do with someone who comes off less than sincere.
  3. Don’t try to manipulatively manufacture a conversation about Jesus. It comes across as conniving and awkward. For instance, say you are sitting around watching the football game with some friends and coworkers and your team gets a pick 6 (the other team’s quarterback throws an interception and your defense takes it back for a touchdown). As everyone is cheering you blithely say, “You know, Jesus picked 6 disciples, and then He picked 6 more and these 12 went about preaching a message of repentance and if you don’t follow Jesus you are going to hell.” Talk about a non-sequitur. So this example is absurd, but I’ve heard and more often seen (usually on social media) efforts at steering a conversation toward Jesus that are nearly just as bad. We must allow the conversation to happen organically. If we force something into the conversation we will likely be brushed off with weird looks. The weird looks themselves are not the issue, those are bound to come just because of who we are, but we do need to be concerned that we are presenting the message in the best possible light. We must take care not only what we say but how we say it and a large part of the how is the when (Col. 4:5-6).