"Listen to Him" (Matthew 17:5b)


Steven Clark Goad

An executive received a penguin one year as a birthday present. The gentleman asked one of his office boys to take the bird to the zoo. The young man did as he was instructed but didn't return to the office all day. Later he showed up at the exec's house with the bird in tow. "I thought I told you to take him to the zoo!" exclaimed the older man.

"I did, sir," explained the youth. "And he enjoyed it so much that I'm taking him to the museum tomorrow."

Have you ever had the feeling that your ability to successfully communicate had become totally inoperative? This is the feeling a speaker has when several months after a speech he finds himself confronted with the results of someone's misunderstanding. And the tragedy about being misunderstood is that unless one is in a discussion group or engaged in one on one dialogue where instant feedback is possible, he rarely discovers it.Anyone who is a public speaker can testify to the fact that any given group of people can take any given lecture and make any number of conclusions about its content.

As goes the penguin's owner, so goes the preacher/teacher of Gods word. He studies, he prays and he delivers his message ... and it is usually misapplied by someone. But "God's mouthpiece" has one thing going for him that a politician or lecturer hasn't his material doesn't need to appear original. And his delivery doesn't have to be flamboyant or impressive to those in the audience (unless, of course, he may have a vested interest in maintaining his position as head cleric and salaried ecclesiastical orator). A simple message a clear and simple presentation of eternal truths. Only those men who fill God's messages with useless rhetoric find themselves ever in difficulty.

An individual who must spend more time explaining "what he said" than he originally did in "saying it" had better get another audience or take some speech lessons ... or both. Communication is an art. It is presumptuous of this scribe to even b e writing concerning it. Few people ever really master it. And there are so many avenues through which we can pass our ideas. Keeping the message clear and precise is a start.

Big gun preachers are becoming less and less impressive. Perhaps it is because more of us are learning that it was the "little guns" (persecuted Christians) of the early church who were scattered abroad and went everywhere proclaiming the good news of Christ. It was they who turned the world upside down for Jesus in one generation. Will we ever be able to do it again?

Who was it that said, "Religious movements begin in caves and die in cathedrals?"