Communicating the Good News
Many years ago, an American pioneer wandering in the wilderness was cold, weary and very hungry. Suddenly, he began to smell something that caused him to begin to salivate. Someone out there in the middle of nowhere was cooking, and it smelled delicious. He began to follow his nose which led him to a small clearing with a Native American sitting by a camp fire. He was hesitant at first to make himself known, but the fire, the rabbit, and his excruciating hunger was overwhelming. He stepped into the clearing and raised both hands signaling that he meant no harm. The Indian was startled and stood up quickly grabbing his knife for protection. The pioneer was fearful, but he took his right hand down and rubbed his stomach indicating his hunger. The Indian hesitated for a moment, then lowered his knife and motioned his visitor over to the fire. He took the knife, cut a piece of the meat and handed it to his visitor. Not a word was spoken, but each had understood the other perfectly.
These two spoke different languages, yet when motivated to put their differences aside, they communicated because they had a common denominator. The greatest communicators are those that have enough empathy to crawl out of themselves and enter in to the needs and concerns of others. Most of the communication necessary to accomplish this is non-verbal. It doesn’t require a lot of talking, but rather doing.
At a meeting in Hong Kong, executives were gathered from all over the world. An American businessman speaking with a marketing expert from Japan asked what he thought was the most important language in the world. Assuming his response would be English, the Japanese man smiled and answered, “My customer’s language.”
Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
If we are to be communicating the “Good News” of the Gospel, we need to be speaking our customer’s language. Their language is always about where they are in life; their own trials, their needs and goals. But if we are speaking our own language, they will likely glaze over and tune out.
The Native American by the campfire had a choice when the pioneer entered his camp. He could fight the intruder, or he could speak his language by meeting his greatest need at that time. He wisely chose to provide a solution to the stranger’s most pressing problem, food for his hunger.
The greatest need that exists in mankind today is the “Good News” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So here is the question. How many are we engaging with that great hope? I am reminded of the question the famous magician and renown atheist Penn Gillette recently asked. That was,
“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell others that?”
As believers, we make thousands of choices every single day. But the most telling choice of all is what we do with the do with the Great Commission.
“And he said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’” Mark 16:15