(September 7, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage blessing others…
Proverbs 16:24NLT makes a great statement: ‘Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.’ ‘Kind words’ – noam emer in the Hebrew speak of suitable, delightful speech. A reality of life is that everyone needs to hear a suitable delight-bringing kind word at some point! Such contacts are blessings, precious connections.
In respect to making contacts, in our May and June articles (The Inverted T Principle and Waiting at the Railway Station Called the Church) we emphasised the need to reach out – to connect – with people both inside and outside the church, that…
- All Christians can do something to assist their pastor build their church!
- The baptism of the Spirit is just not to enable us freely worship God in an unknown language, but supernatural enablement for kingdom service!
- The principle of what Jesus said about his followers would be able to do if we ever came up against magistrates because of our faith can be applied to sharing the gospel: ‘Don’t worry about what you’ll say. When the time comes, say what’s on your heart – the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you’ (Mark13:11Mge).
Thank God that the Spirit is the great helper! As we trust him, we find we can move in his 1 Corinthians 12 spiritual gifts – such as words (messages) of knowledge and wisdom, prophesying or boldly praying for healing to touch and bless people Christian or not. Even in the marketplace, let alone the church!
Now this should be real easy in churches, especially charismatic ones – but what about ‘out there’? We find many Christians hesitate to use such ministry gifts outside the church to make connections, sow a seed that can lead to producing interest in who we really are, what we believe, sharing our testimony, talking about the gospel.
Here’s a truth that’s a lead into making connections… everybody, Christian or not, needs a kind word, an encouragement. Some time back I (Robert) wrote that while in today’s world Hollywood heroes may be Rambo, Big Arnie or Marvel types, but my hero is still the Duke, Big John Wayne!
An interesting thing about this man’s man, this tough guy, is that whenever anyone would enquire if he needed anything, coffee or whisky, he’d answer and add, ‘And a kind word.’
If John Wayne needed a kind word, an encouragement, so does little meek me – especially in times of trouble! That Proverbs 16:24 scripture above is so true. There’s also an old Irish proverb along those lines – ‘A kind word never broke anyone’s mouth!’
‘Encouraging kind word’ example
As many know we’ll soon be moving back to Melbourne. Taking a break from packing the other day, we went shopping. On entering the large XYZ supermarket a staff member whom we’d never met before warmly greeted us with a cheery ‘Welcome! And how are you today?’
Ignoring the aches from packing (especially me, Maureen, as I’m the expert when it comes to moving), we responded, ‘Fine, thank you.’ Robert, noting her nametag, added with genuine concern, ‘But how are you, Xxxx?’
Obviously unused to such a genuinely-asked question our greeter hesitated for a moment, then said, ‘I’m fine… too, but busy.’ Robert asked, ‘Do many customers ask you about yourself?’ Further surprised, she thought for a moment, and then said, ‘Oh, a few… but only now and then.’ That’s not good enough, we commented as we moved on.
But… that wasn’t the end of our casual encounter with this stranger! Walking only a few yards away, Robert stopped, thinking (he told me later), ‘If only the odd person thinks to enquire how she is, she could do with a good encouragement, a kind word, from you, Lord.’
Chance encounters, chance connections
Indicating he’d catch up with me, Robert went back to the greeter, trusting the Lord would give him a meaningful word of blessing for her – whether she was a believer or not. Despite the store being busy she was alone for a few choice moments – all Robert and the Holy Spirit needed.
Smiling he approached her and, led by the Spirit, said quietly, ‘Hi again, Xxxx. So people don’t normally ask you how you are. Well, I just want to encourage you, thank you for your warm, welcoming smile… but underneath –’
A word of knowledge flowed as Robert briefly spoke of the darkness she’d been in and come through so victoriously because of her right attitude, inner strength, and ability to smile no matter what, how she was now on settled even ground and could carry on, could make wise decisions that would be needed soon, that ahead was a…
Now you don’t need to know everything the Spirit graciously gave Robert to speak in faith touching both her mind and heart. She was a little stunned for a moment, aware that he, a chance encounter stranger, didn’t know her, couldn’t possibly know what she’d gone through. God’s encouraging kind word was spot-on, delightfully blessing deeply. Tears of joy welled in her eyes.
Without Bible-bashing, being religious, a super-spiritual weirdo spouting ‘Thus saith the Lorda God-a…’ or revealing his source but merely capturing her interest, Robert had connected, making a friend whom he could chat further with on another occasion… and take that brief conversation deeper. Xxxx had readily read Robert’s heart, his gentleness and sincerity, and accepted his encouraging words without querying anything – the word was obviously so spot-on and meaningful to her.
No such thing as chance encounters, Robert thought, chance encounters are chance opportunities in God! Now she’ll be wondering how I knew all that, who I am… and more. I’ll believe for another opportunity to share my source.
Some customers were now coming close as they entered the aisle and Robert made to move away quickly. Xxxx smiled again, this time an extra warm genuine smile from her heart, not just her eyes, and said softly, ‘Thank you, you’re such a kind man.’
My hubby just smiled himself and said laughingly, ‘Oh, just a minute ’till I find Maureen, my wife, and you can tell her that. Make her believe it and you’ll make my day!’ They both laughed.
Connecting is communicating
That was not the first time God has used us in supermarkets or stores or on planes or buses in this manner. We just keep open as we enjoy whatever we’re doing out here in the real world… allowing the Spirit to tap us on the shoulder as it were anytime he wants to use us.
Everyone, Christians or non-Christian, needs a kind word, an encouragement, from high-flying bosses right down to the most humble road cleaners.
And many times the opportunity is there to share not only an encouragement or a spiritual word, but the gospel itself. But not always… one has to build a base, a good relationship, earn some credit first! We’re message carriers! We have responsibilities.
Interestingly Jesus never demanded we all become evangelists! ‘Evangelist’ is a term that can scare Christians but here’s a thought:
- Dictionaries – describe evangelising not to preach the gospel as an evangelist would, but to act as an evangelist.
- Bible link – Paul’s 2 Timothy 4:5 advice to a young pastor: ‘Do the work of an evangelist’ or as the NTL puts it, ‘Work at telling others the good news.’ The message Bible says it even simpler: To ‘Keep the message alive.’
- If Paul felt to encourage Timothy to extend his pastoral ministry to those outside the church, surely we can assist our pastors to build the church by bravely going beyond just being pew warmers. With the Holy Spirit’s assistance we can boldly take opportunities to reach out with a kind word, some kind of encouragement that touches a life and leads to an opening to share our testimony and what Jesus means to us.
- When Jesus encountered the unnamed woman at the well under a hot noonday sun, his approach was definitely not superspiritual but very down-to-earth: ‘Could I have a drink, please?’ This was connecting with someone ‘out there’ – a Samaritan! Then he moved in the supernatural with words of knowledge that had far-reaching consequences – she not only believed but she instantly ‘did the work of an evangelist (John 4:42)!
- The centre this ‘late Greek’ biblical word evangelist is ‘angel’… meaning messenger. Simply put, we’re all meant to be down-to-earth, realistic messengers when opportunities come up to speak freely about the good news – or move supernaturally in the Spirit. Jesus said so in Acts 1:8Mge – ‘You will be able to be my witnesses.’
The time to do so? In verse 7 Jesus pointed out that ‘Timing is the Father’s business.’ This too is part of trusting God… believing for that right moment!
Regular communication – with God and people
Be bold, don’t miss opportunities! Jesus clearly told his lead disciples to make disciples, teaching and training them in everything he had taught his followers (Matthew 28:18-20). This ‘making, teaching, training’ clause many times begins by sharing our testimony… about what Jesus means to us, what he’s done for us, that we believe in a prayer-answering almighty caring God of love.
The Christian life is an everyday journey, one where we live out our faith and trust in Jesus. Make no mistake; the fifth gospel, the book of TGATY, is still the only one that some outsiders will even read!
And what’s the fifth gospel? It’s The Gospel According to You! (and us).
Wayne Swift, Acts Global Churches’ national leader, wrote recently about to lead pastors – models –about this journey. Here’s an excerpt: ‘The journey we take personally with God in communication is possibly a model for the ideal way to connect with others. Jesus expects us to make disciples and as we look at the Western church generally it seems we have failed. Please don’t misunderstand me I am not judging just questioning.
‘We need to find a way for the church in the West to grow and increase with impact. I think the answer may simply lie in prayer and discipleship. … Discipleship like prayer is all about communication on a regular basis at a level of intimacy most have never really known.
‘I know I’m looking at my life and reassessing in both areas because people really do matter. I encourage you to think it through too.’
Yes, people do matter!
May we all reassess things – and may our communication, our connecting with God so fire us on to connecting with the lost… and may we seek the Spirit’s help to live out that fifth gospel!
That Proverbs scripture again… ‘Kind words are like honey.’ Let’s spread some heavenly honey around!