Tuesday, 4 April 2017

JESUS: THE GREAT CONVERSATION KILLER / [ Faith ]



Faith.
Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Jesus Christ, the Solid Rock, is where I place my trust.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see Hebrews 11:1

Have you ever been at a gathering of some kind, say, dinner guests at a friends house, or a social club get together, maybe a party or perhaps just sitting around chewing the fat with some friends and someone mentions the dreaded
‘J’ word and all of a sudden the room goes deathly quiet. Next thing someone jumps up and says ‘so anyone for dessert’ or ‘well it’s getting late, we’d better head off’ or ‘so how about those Sharks!’

It’s amazing how just mentioning the name of Jesus can end a conversation. We can talk all night about other ‘historical’ (Yes, I say ‘historical’ because Jesus was a living breathing historical person -  see Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus’ and writings by Tacitus, the Roman Historian) figures like, Hitler, Stalin, Alexander the Great, Muhammad, Buddha, Gandhi – but mention the name Jesus and you’ll find yourself alone with the sound of stampeding feet ringing in your ears and wondering what you said!

It’s ok to mention Jesus at a Worship Service or a Bible Study or something that is connected with a church activity, but to mention Him, out loud, by name, in public, in a place where Jesus is not the main point, can leave you feeling as if you’ve left the house and forgotten to put your pants on.

‘Did she really just say…(whispers) Jesus?!?!?!’

‘I can’t believe she said that, no, no, don’t look at her, she might say it again!’

‘Just look the other way and pretend you didn’t hear a thing. Oh look, there’s a pile of Elephant dung. Wonder where that came from?’



What is it about the Name ‘Jesus’ that causes people to want to leave the room unless, of course, it’s just been used because someone stubbed their toe? What makes people so uncomfortable that it literally stops conversations and leaves people in awkward silence not knowing where to look?

This was my experience last week at my ‘gentle exercise class’ and I have been pondering it ever since.

Our young instructor was ‘sharing’ her frustrations about some work colleagues, and members of the class (who, bar two, are all pretty much in their late 70’s and 80’s) were giving her advice on how to handle things. I made a comment that largely went unnoticed until someone made a similar comment and someone else asked me to repeat mine. This was met with agreement all round.

The list of complaints continued, now involving boyfriends and I made another comment, which this time everyone heard. The young instructor was struck with my great ‘wisdom’ and dubbed me her new mentor, counsellor and an assortment of other accolades and then asked me how I knew this stuff, was I a counsellor, where did I get this ‘wisdom’ about people and love from? What did I do for work?

In that moment, with everyone in a circle bobbing up and down in the water, seemingly hanging on my answer with baited breath, several things went through my mind but it all happened in a split second!

You know how in books where the main character is asked a question or has to make a decision or something like that and it needs to be done fast, but, for the next three pages we hear all the thoughts that go through their mind before they progress in their decision? I often think, what was the other person in the story doing while they waited for the hero’s answer? Filing their nails? Running to the corner for a Latte? Cleaning out the wardrobe? In reality, it only takes seconds to think of a million things at once.

And a million thoughts skittered through my mind as quickly as a blink. At first I thought, where do I work so I said, ‘Well, I don’t work at the moment” and started to rattle off places I’ve worked, all of which had nothing to do with anything, but, whilst I was mentioning where I’d worked I was thinking ‘where do I get this stuff?’ Mostly, it’s just from doing life but that doesn’t necessarily give you wisdom and really what I said was not, as they say ‘rocket science!’

And then I had an Epiphany. As I continued to struggle with an answer that wouldn’t sound smug or self righteous or show offy (not sure that’s a word), I realized something I already knew and that is ‘I have no wisdom of my own.’ None. Zilch. Nadda. So where does it come from? And then I remembered a passage from the Bible that says that Christ has become wisdom for us from God. And suddenly I knew there was only one answer I could give and I had to give it to them. So I did!

I said ‘Where does it come from? It comes from many years of following the Master of Love and His Name is Jesus!’

No one moved, all bobbing stopped, breaths were held. Finally, the young instructor asked, ‘And, so is that in the Bible?’ Before I could answer, a young girl in the group said, ‘It is in the Psalms and Proverbs.’ Not quite what I wanted to say, but that’s fine. Another couple of beats were passed in silence and then everyone kind of just started moving again and someone mumbled ‘what exercise are we doing now?’ and that was that.

The rest of the lesson was spent discussing nothing more than exercises. Conversation another casualty of the name of Jesus.

I said to the young girl who had answered the question about the Bible (I already knew she is a Christian as we’d talked before) ‘Isn’t it amazing how the name of Jesus can kill a conversation?’

Her response surprised and humbled me when she said ‘Wow! That was amazing what you did. I’d never have the guts to say that!’

I didn’t know how to respond to that so I didn’t. I just smiled and paddled on by. But, I got to wondering. If I’d said ‘I got it from Oprah’s new book, you should read it’ or ‘it’s an ancient saying from a famous swami’ would everyone have wanted to know ‘which book’ and ‘which swami?’ 

If Jesus is my source of wisdom, my strength for the battle of doing life, my guidance into all truth and for making sound decisions, then why should I not give Him the credit as easily as I might have had it come from Oprah’s book? Because I am not ashamed of Jesus Christ or of His Gospel which is life now and eternally, and He deserves to receive all the credit! All glory to Him!


Yes, the name of Jesus can stop conversations, but, in the silence, who knows what He might do in people's hearts at the mention of His Name.

Cheers

Mare

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