Living His Story Ch. 4
Communicating like Jesus did
Welcome to Chapter 4 of our Lenten journey through Hannah Steele’s Living His Story. This Chapter is entitled Communicating Like Jesus Did.
My mum is brilliant at having conversations with strangers. She has an ease about her, and a desire to include, that shows neither embarrassment nor awkwardness that has always intrigued me and has sometimes shown me up. When I was younger and my Dad was at the peak of his career, she would chat with everybody; sometimes it would be Judges, Barristers and those in Public office, and at others you would find her clearing tables, washing up and chatting passionately with the staff at an event she had attended or even hosted with my Dad. She would always invite into proper conversations those who would least expect it. Whatever my mum thought of a situation, organisation or place, she would always treat everyone equally, but I think, often subconsciously, what she was really doing was looking out for the lonely, the undervalued and the overlooked. She still does it today, provided she can get out!
In this chapter Hannah invites us to see the multi faceted ways that Jesus engaged with people. We see that he never approached them in a formulaic or systematic way, but often spontaneously, always relationally, and always from the same starting point and incentive, Love.
I’m particularly struck by the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus at the well. Her encounter results in her reflecting back to the people of her town how Jesus, whom she had only just met, knew her intimately, telling them ‘He told me everything I’ve ever done’, and through her sharing this encounter, many, we are told, believed in Him. This realisation was one that I could barely process when it first dawned on me, the intimacy of the relationship we have with Jesus continues to astound me to this day, and it is a relationship that we can invite others to ‘come and see’. Jesus longs to be in relationship with every person whose path crosses ours. It is our job to work out moment by moment, encounter by encounter, if God is offering us the opportunity to do the inviting!
The power of us sharing our encounters of Jesus with others is unlimited. It’s only us that impose limits; limits on ourselves, limits on the people we are talking to, and limits on God - but this passage in John Chapter 4 tells us that ‘many’ in that Samaritan town were transformed through that one woman’s encounter of Jesus. God is limitless.
So our challenge is to communicate like Jesus. On the surface that sounds impossibly difficult doesn’t it, I mean we are talking about Jesus here, the living God, who knows everything about everyone?!? But when we look closer we see that Jesus communicated in ways that met each person individually, talking to their deepest needs and desires, inviting them first into a conversation, and then a relationship.
It seems to me then, that once we have identified an opportunity, the most important thing we can do is to listen. There aren’t many greater human needs, than the need to be heard, and often in order to listen, we will need to ask questions. Hannah encourages us to step out of our comfort zones and to ask questions rather than making assumptions about where people are at. We need to remember or at least try to understand what it feels like not to know Jesus, and to recognise that there are those who think belief in God is ridiculous or unethical. Once we have listened and understood, we will be in a much better position to speak.
When we do come to speak, we can do so without fear, we can relax and be a bit more like my mum, unencumbered by embarrassment and awkwardness, because ultimately what we speak of is only ever going to be of what we know, what we love and what we trust. Jesus.
Click here to join Sarah on Zoom at 1pm today for discussion and reflection.
Questions for Zoom
Have you ever experienced an interruption that turned out to be a God moment? How might you become more prepared for interruptions in your everyday life?
What strikes you most about the way Jesus interacted with people? How might you learn from His approach?