My wife recently bought a package of cards that have ‘talking points” that are meant to help generate conversations. While I initially thought the idea had little merit, I don’t like the thought of being guided to create discussions, after using them a few times within our family I have changed my opinion. Being spurred and motivated to talk can be a scary proposition but when used correctly the Holy Spirit can use it for growth.
Case in point the first time we used these cards my son read the question, “What is your favorite memory from childhood?” and for the next twenty minutes we all listened to each other as we dug deep within our own cognitive and emotional recess to answer. It reminds me that the Biblical story from creation to redemption is supposed to function this way. The stories move every part of us towards Truth…towards King Jesus.
Haunted by the card’s question, I keep going back to the people that invested their lives into me as a child. A Methodist pastor recently spoke how Mr. Rogers would always take one minute to thank those that helped him along the way. To answer my favorite memory as a child is to also acknowledge those that poured themselves into me in my younger years. Those people are now 70 years old or older and good many of them have passed away. There seems to be a common trait among the ones that did provide a positive push for my life and a correlation among those willing to invest and being mature, humble, and well normal.
Everything we deem as significant in our culture, those things that provide weight and we cling to, are connected to things that provide popularity or notoriety. To scale your influence beyond where you live and to provide your message to a huge audience (to platform) is our national definition of being important. It seems to me that this is so far from Jesus of Nazareth and his story. In fact, when Satan tried to derail his initial steps towards the cross he promised him importance in much the same way an online YouTuber counts their views. While it is given by God for some to have such popularity, for most of us we are given the joy of providing ripples in another way. To invest in our communities and those right in front of us is the way Jesus’ Spirit shows his fullness in this world. My memory of regular common men and women in my life in Alabama provide the best example. To the man who helped me create a shoebox on a Wednesday night at my home church or to my grandmother who provided space for my brother and I to play while she cleaned houses for a living, I want to say thank you for being normal and common. The people that pushed me forward were not doing it while streaming with their phone in hand, they did it because they wanted to and to that I want to say thank God for divine influencers.