Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A failure to communicate...

While I was living in west Texas, I had a friend named Glenn that was an auto mechanic. He went into partnership with another man named Glenn, that was also experienced in auto mechanics and they opened a shop together and built a business making car repairs. Shortly after the shop opened they experienced the normal problems that are associated with starting a new business. One afternoon the phone rang and my friend answered the phone, “Auto Repair Shop, this is Glenn.” The voice on the other end said, “Glenn, honey, I have had a terrible day and I have a bad headache, so would you pick up some burgers for dinner?” Glenn responded in the affirmative and on his way home stopped at the drive‐in burger place and picked up family’s dinner. (Are you getting ahead of me in the story?) Glenn walked in the door at home with two bags of burgers and fries and noticed his wife had fixed a huge dinner for the family and it was on the table and ready for all to eat.

About the same time, the other Glenn was arriving at his home empty handed, to a house full of hungry kids anxiously awaiting burgers because mom wasn’t feeling well and had gone to bed. It’s funny to think about it now, but from the discussion at the repair shop the next morning, apparently it wasn’t a happy home setting for either family the night before. Communication problems needed to be worked out.

Similar problems happen in all of our lives when we fail to communicate effectively. We say something in a way that seems perfectly clear to the listener, only to learn later they did not understand. Often we are a poor listener and fail to receive the entire communication. Is it any wonder some of the Bible’s most important messages for us come with an encouragement to listen closely? Jesus began speaking at times with the words, “I tell you the truth,” followed by words that warrant our attention. And in the special messages Jesus dictated to the seven churches of Asia Minor, there is the repeated admonition, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” I can think of numerous passages that have seemed to come alive to me when I would pause long enough to really think and understand they conveyed a message I needed. I hope you can relate, because all of us still have lessons to learn and areas where we need to grow into the likeness of Jesus.

The tendency is for us to get the truth in our heads, without it making changes in our hearts. Knowledge is good, but the application of that knowledge brings the growth and maturity we need. James says it like this, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man, who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:2225.

God longs to communicate with us. His communication is clear that without him we have no hope. He delivers his message to us in the form of his Son, and the teaching he gives. That message continues through the event of the cross and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The message grows in its application to our individual lives, when he promises to reside in us. His message is a love letter, written especially for you.

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