Listening on Purpose, Part 2
May 23, 2020
“Buckling my seat belt to prepare for a quiet flight, I glanced up and noticed an Indian spiritual leader walking down the aisle of the plane. His long white robe, flowing shoulder-length hair, and full beard attracted my attention. I was even more surprised when he took his seat beside me. His warm brown eyes and gentle smile put me at ease instantly.
“During the flight we discussed our philosophies of life. Of course, I shared the ‘good news’ about my best friend Jesus. I told of His inexhaustible mercy, His limitless love, His infinite power. I told of His creation, His salvation, His friendship, His priesthood, and His soon coming. “At the end of the two-hour flight, to my utter surprise, this Indian [spiritual leader] placed his hand upon my shoulder and, with his face only a few inches from mine, spoke in distinct, deliberate tones. He hadn’t said much during our flight. He let me do most of the talking.
Now it was his turn.
“ ‘Son,’ he declared, ‘everyone we ever meet in life has influence upon us. There are no chance meetings. No life is an accident. We all influence one another for eternal life or for death. Thank you, young man, for influencing me for the nobler principles of the heavenly kingdom today.’ Then he turned and walked away. . . .
“He was right. There are no chance meetings. Our words and actions have an incredibly powerful influence on other people. Every encounter for the Savior is an opportunity to share the Father’s love. Some of Christ’s most life-changing moments resulted from unexpected meetings. They were not planned ‘witnessing events.’ They were divine encounters in the daily routine of life. . . .
“Today you can be an influence for good on someone around you. You can share God’s love with someone who needs you. Someone needs your hopeful words today. Someone needs your encouragement today. Make yourself available to the Spirit [of God], and look for an unexpected encounter with one of God’s needy children today.”—Mark Finley, Solid Ground (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald®, 2003), pp. 122, 123.
Memory Text: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 13, The Remnant and Its Mission: “The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 38, 39.
Read Acts 13:47.
To hear the needs of those around us, we need to listen through their pain, anger, and hurt to hear what they are really trying to say. We need to reach out to people to understand what they need. We are called to be channels of God’s love to others. He uses us to meet people where they are; then we can lead them into a saving relationship with God.
Priyanth has gone to Christian schools all his life. He doesn’t really know anyone who is not of his faith. Now he has to go to a public high school. He wants to share his faith, but he is afraid people will think he is weird. What advice would you give him?
Read 2 Peter 3:10-14; Revelation 14:6-12; Revelation 18:1-4.
As children of God we have a message for the world. God loves them. Jesus died for them. And the Holy Spirit helps us to obey God’s command to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15, NKJV). We are to take the three angels’ messages to the world. Jesus is coming soon, and He wants us to help others to be ready for His coming (see Matthew 28:19, 20).
Knowing that God is with you, to whom will you reach out to share His message of love?
What are some things you can do to share God’s messages?
Take a piece of paper and lightly draw a background that goes with the verse below. Now, write the verse across your picture. Take a pencil and mark various shapes on the picture and verse—so it looks like a puzzle. Now cut out the pieces, mix them up, and put the puzzle together upside down (so you can’t see the picture). Once you have put it together, glue a piece of card stock on the back. After it has dried, turn the picture verse over. Hang your picture in your room to remind you that everyone needs a chance to become a follower of Jesus and the opportunity to be ready for His coming.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10, NKJV).
Read Matthew 5:13-16.
We are to be a blessing to those around us who may not know or follow God. Jesus wants us to be like salt—seasoning the area where we are with His love and goodness. We are also to be light to those around us. Since we are God’s children, we must allow our light to shine to reach those in darkness.
It is true that today people can get facts, figures, and information about being a Christian from social media and the Internet. But people need to know someone is listening and is willing to be a friend and to offer a helping hand. Humans need one-on-one contact to thrive.
You can reach out to others by getting involved. There are many community outreach projects. Find one that matches your personality.
Even though we are not to love the things of this world, we do have a part in this world—we are to carry the Good News to others. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you who do not know God and are not a part of your normal circle of friends. Just remember to whom you belong. It is important to be around people who are different from you so you can learn how to relate to them and meet them where they are with the Good News of Salvation.
Match the following texts from the New International Version of the Bible (available at www.BibleGateway.com) with the words that correspond to them.
A. James 1:19, 20
B. Matthew 5:13-16
C. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22
D. Acts 13:47
E. Romans 1:14-16
“. . . A town built on a hill cannot be hidden . . .”
“. . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
“. . . Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry . . .”
“. . . I have made you a light for the Gentiles . . .”
“. . . I am not ashamed of the gospel . . .”
Read James 1:19, 20.
Review the memory text.
In a few more years you will be in high school and then off to college. You will probably take a course in effective listening. This will enable you to take better notes during class and to retain lots of information for tests.
The wonderful thing is that these skills translate into other areas, such as relationships. The skills gained may have eternal consequences for the people that you meet as well. God doesn’t need our help to save people, but He can use our talents to reach others if we are willing to be instruments in His hands.
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-22.
For one two-hour period today, when you know you will be around a lot of people, make an attempt to clarify everything that another person says by mirroring their actions and paraphrasing what they say. Note the outcomes—their nonverbal reaction, how you felt, what they said. Be prepared to share them in class on Sabbath.
Example 1: “ Today when I talked with Juanita, she was sad about her pet dying. I made a sad face when she made one. I told her I knew that it was hard to lose a pet. She cried a little bit (I didn’t cry, though) and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her and smiled. I felt good that she seemed to feel better about it.”
Example 2: “Manny was pumped about winning the geography bee. At first I wasn’t going to say anything because so many people were around him. I gave him a high-five and asked him how he did it. His eyes lit up when I asked him that. He told me how his uncle made map flash cards for him to study with during the day and how he drilled him at night. I kept nodding my head and asking questions, and he kept talking. I even asked to see the cards. The more interested I acted, the more he talked. I thought I would never get away. I learned a lot, though.”