But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Thoughts for Today:Years ago, on my first medical/evangelical mission to Nepal, I needed a translator to communicate because I didn't speak the native language. At the beginning I spoke fast and with a lot of words. My translator's name was Megh, and somehow he would convert my thousand words into just a few sentences. I asked him, "Did you translate everything I said?" In broken English, Megh answered, "I didn't understand everything you said, so I just told them what I thought you said. You need to slow down because I don't understand you too good."
I took Megh's advice and began speaking in shorter sentences. Things went along fine for a while, and then Megh's translations lengthened considerably. I found myself asking him regularly, "What did you say?" His response was, "I told him what I thought you wanted to say." I said, "Let's make an agreement -- I'll speak slowly and if you don't understand what I said, just ask me. Then try to translate accurately. That way the Holy Spirit can work through me in our conversation. After I've shared my testimony, feel free to share any of your thoughts. Just keep me connected in the conversation."
At the beginning, the outcome of our sharing wasn't very good. Not many people responded to our testimony. But as we worked on our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and each other, the results improved dramatically. Ultimately, there was a great harvest in Nepal and hundreds of people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. How? Why? I think the answer is in our passage today. The key was for us to speak only intelligible words given to us by the Holy Spirit, not ten thousand, just a few of the right ones. Nothing works as well.
Questions to Ponder:I think the key to sharing with unbelievers about Jesus is with the few words given to us by the Holy Spirit, not the thousand we might be tempted to offer. Have you been struggling with what to say or saying too much? Let God's Word speak for you. Have you looked to the Bible for direction? The beginning, middle and ending of all Scripture is about God's love and His desire to have a relationship with us -- today and for eternity. Yet the question remains: What is our response? Is it to love Him back or ignore and reject Him?