It’s the Christmas season and if you have young children you’ve probably had to be very careful about talking about Christmas presents in their….. presence. It’s amazing how well they can hear you when you are whispering about the new game you bought them but, when you tell them to clean their room they never seem to hear you the first, second, OR third time. Funny how that is.
Of course it happens to adults, too. Have you ever found yourself locked into somebody else’s conversation? I’ve stood in line at a store and overheard people talking about something that less than interesting under normal circumstances, but in the boredom of a long line became quite interesting. Before I know it, I’m secretly hoping the shopper in front of me has 25 more coupons so I can find out what happened at their family reunion the previous day.
The unexpected visit from Uncle Ray seemed to cause quite a stir.
It happens all the time. We overhear people, they overhear us. I wonder how many times we have been witnesses for Jesus without even knowing it. I heard a quote today that went something like this…
“Keep talking about Jesus, someone just might be listening.”
It seems simple and basic on the surface but if we stop to think about the potential impact it could have on others, it’s actually a powerful word. If we were able to recall every word – every conversation that we had today, what percentage of them would have referenced God, Jesus, the gospel, or something along those lines? How about every Tweet, Facebook post, or text? Seem like a silly question? Take a look at this example.
Your standing in line at the store. The store is busy, you’re surrounded by 15 people in 3 different lines. Your talking on the phone with a friend, sharing a testimony about a prayer God answered in your life. Your talking to one person but you’ve potentially shared it with the 15 people who are around you. One of them may have needed to hear it, too. God works like that. Don’t believe me? Read this.
Or… you could be in the same line, with the same 15 people surrounding you. Instead, you’re on the phone sharing your disapproval of the management of the store and how long it takes to through the check-out. Those same people have heard your conversation and have formed an opinion about you. They may even recognize you if they decide to visit your church one Sunday. It happens. Need an example? Read the comments on this post.
I’m not saying that every word we speak will reference Christ. But David does say in Psalms,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (19:14)
In Ephesians, Paul said,
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (4:29)
Sometimes we may get discouraged, thinking that we are not being effective in a particular ministry or even as a Christian. We seek God and we share His word with our friends and others but we see no fruit – no results. So we have thoughts of giving up. Thoughts like “Maybe God doesn’t want to use me.” or “No one listens to what I say.”
I tell you – Do not give up.
Keep sharing Jesus. Our conversation has the ability to encourage people who we do not even know are listening. Through your overheard testimony a seed may be planted, another may water it, and God will ultimately give the increase. We may never know who we’ve impacted but God does. He will use those who are faithful to Him.
Some people he may use on stage, others may be in a check-out line on their cell phone.
I’ve been on both ends of this one–someone overhearing my conversation about Jesus, and me overhearing someone else’s. It’s always lots more fun than listening in on complaints and gossip, as you said.
What better thing for someone to overhear than our testimony or something about Jesus? It’s amazing what God can use to minister to people.