This is an inaccurate portrayal of me reading Andy Stanley and Lane Jones’ Communicating for a Change.
It would be much more realistic if I had a furrowed brow, a broken heart, and was hunched over the book with a pen in one hand, frantically underlining every word. I’d have a journal by my side as I copy the book verbatim and scrawl backflipping thoughts with excessive amounts of stars and exclamation marks. Oh, and let’s not forget the tears. Lots of them. Yes… I think that would be a truer picture of how I look when I’m reading this book.
Amy Carroll recommended it on a Saturday. Amazon shipped it to me by Tuesday. I swallowed it whole by Thursday. And now I’m starting over again.
I can cross this off my to-do list (yay!), but in the meantime, God is using it to turn me inside-out.
The biggest shaker-upper for me: I haven’t cared enough about the people listening to me.
Until now, my greatest motivation for teaching has been that I “feel God’s pleasure” when I teach. (You know, like Eric Liddell felt about running?) I love teaching because I feel full of the Holy Spirit. He fills me up, gives me ideas, and seems to work through my teaching. It’s awesome! Underneath all selfish or prideful motivations, I teach because I love Jesus… and I love when He works through me. I truly believe that anyone could do anything as long as God’s Spirit is bubbling up within her. For me, the bubbling-over happens when I teach.
But these days, God is opening my eyes and heart to more. I can feel Him beckoning me to a new reason to surrender my life to Him: “I serve God because I love Him… and I love the people He created.”
I hate to admit it, but when it comes to preparing a Bible lesson, I don’t often think about the listener’s struggles. I don’t often yearn for her life to change. In fact, I rarely expect the audience to gain anything useful from my lesson besides stimulating information and an admiration for God.
I’m usually content that they are sitting in their chairs, listening to me. I rarely daydream about what they might do with the information once they leave the building. I’ve been content that people simply hear the Word of God, while God Himself is extremely passionate that people do His Word. To make matters worse, I’ve never recognized this major hole in my teaching. Hence the broken heart.
“If you think about it, your delivery, your style, your humor, your conclusions, your timing is all about… you guessed it… you. At some point we’ve got to begin caring more for the people in the audience than the person on the platform. When we do, our presentations take on real significance. Until we do, communication is really all about us.” p. 92
So I have begun asking God to change my heart. I’ve been begging Jesus to give me His love and insight about people. Before I teach another person, may I receive the gift of caring deeply about her life.
“And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39