Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Preparing to Speak

Just recently I passed a milestone in my ability to speak Russian. There are still days when I can barely ask for directions in the morning because that part of my brain still hasn’t felt the coffee, and I still can’t say “barber shop” (par–ik–ma-kher) to save my life. But I can now preach – some would call it stammering - in Russian rather freely without a translator. However, for a safety net there are usually a few bilingual friends on the front row just to throw me a few hints along the way when I stumble with a word.

I also noticed that I sometimes actually preach better than I speak. This was odd at first, but I soon figured out the simple reason why. I can prepare my topic ahead of time, I can craft my message and pray about it to make sure it is from God and I can test it with select friends to make sure it is relevant and understandable. This all helps me to be a better communicator for God and also lessens the chance that I will make an absolute fool of myself. However, in everyday conversation I often do make a fool of myself using the wrong word or just creating some kind of Slavic-inspired sound that causes people to squint their ears in confusion.

Now imagine that everyone had to go through a preparation process before they actually said anything to anyone. You have to make sure that that what you say is from God and that it is not stupid of offensive. You have to make sure that you actually know what you are talking about, and you have to make sure that those who hear you will understand what you are talking about.

One of the problems with this world and even in the church is that people just don’t prepare to say the oftentimes offensive and ignorant things that they say. Their words just spill out their mouths as they are jostled to and fro by the trials and circumstances of life, and very often what spills out is quite unsavory. Since opinion is less dense than truth it usually floats to the top and is the first thing to spill over and be heard.

As Christians we need to stay filled with God’s word so that when we are bumped only good things spill out. We also need friends on the front row of our lives who will lovingly correct us when we are just not making any sense. Lastly, we simply need to be prepared in our hearts to speak in season and out so that our words can change circumstances and not be a byproduct of those circumstances.

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Eccl 5:2

1 comment:

Dave Hess said...

That's really inspiring. I have often wondered what it would be like trying to learn a foreign language as a full-grown adult and growing in that to the point of being able to preaching. It's encouraging to hear how God is stretching and using you in that capacity. Thanks for sharing!!