“Who touched Me?………Somebody has touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me?”  Luke 8:45, 46

“Hear, O Israel………..”  Mark 12:29

I have had the blessing to be able to facilitate training for all sorts of organizations and groups.  I have had groups with PhD’s in them and groups of high school graduates.  Some groups are made up of the senior leadership of an organization and some entry-level new hires.  When training on organizational effectiveness, the Harvard Business School, Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia and many others’ research shows that the most effective communication for groups comes when face-to-face.  I’m not going to go into detail about the why, but the ability to come together and talk is crucial to improved organizational effectiveness.  No sooner have those words left my mouth then almost universally the negative feedback and push back begins.  People cross their arms and lean back in their chairs with a scowl on their faces.  Many participants roll their eyes and sigh in contempt.  Some people openly express their frustration at too many meetings to start with and that talking accomplishes nothing and only action matters.  Hmmm

Jesus found value in talking.  In fact Jesus found great value in talking.  He’s been told that a child lies on the brink of death.  Jesus is hastily making His way through a crowd to get to that child.  Then, even with that child on their death-bed; Jesus stops!  Why? Jesus needs to talk with someone.  You see a person had been healed, a person in almost as equally a desperate need as the child and their family, had reached out and touched Jesus garment, barely brushing His presence and had been healed.  Jesus is resolute in his determination to speak with this person, this woman with the bleeding.  Again, why?  Jesus must have her and those around her understand the impact her faith had on her healing.  Jesus knows the true healing is not complete until He has talked with her.

Jesus is in the temple in Jerusalem.  It is a huge place and very, very busy.  He is asked a question by a scribe.  The question concerns an extremely important, really the heart of all things, issue:  “What is the most important commandment?”  Jesus, could have just answered the scribe in a regular conversation; but Jesus decides to call out, to stop the rush around Him so that He can proclaim to all within hearing distant what are the two greatest commandments of all.  The power in talk and talking.

You see if you look at Jesus Christ’s ministry, you see example after example of Jesus taking the time to talk; the Creator seeing value in talking with His creation.  Before healings, he would often talk and ask about faith.  When dealing with His enemies, He would first listen to their questions and their reasoning before answering them in loving, overwhelming wisdom and power.  Jesus Christ completely understood that His actions needed to be put into the context of His Heavenly Father’s mission for Him, and the plan for human salvation.  The power came from the words and action.

Back to my training experiences, one of interesting paradoxes of action versus talking comes when you discuss another very frequently discussed issue, the inability to complete tasks correctly the first time.  When I dig deeper, here’s what I find.  People will often eschew talking about a task and just get on with completing it.  However, something either goes wrong with the completion of the task or the outcome is less than the optimal performance desired.  It is when things go wrong that then the discussion happens. People then gain clarity about the task and desired outcome and go back and correct the deficiencies.  When pressed, you can get most to admit, that had they taken the time to discuss a head of time, the chances that they would have to revisit the task would have been greatly diminished.

Dear Sisters and Brother in Christ, our ability to communicate, our ability to talk is one of the greatest blessings we have been given.  As with any great blessing, the enemy can use it, twist it, to be a curse.  We are warned frequently in The Word, about the danger of the loose tongue.  Yet are we not extolled to talk, in prayer with Our Heavenly Father?  Are we not asked to speak to each other in words that are uplifting and in love?

I will freely admit, words alone are of little value.  If I speak of the power of prayer, yet my knees never feel the pressure of the ground or I proclaim the goodness of reading the Word, yet my bible sits covered in dust with no page seeing the light of day, if I tell of my plans to write a blog or a book and my fingers never touch a keyboard, then my words are of little to no value.

Finally, as talking and doing are important, I would be remiss if I left out the other extremely vital aspect of communication; we must listen as well.  The enemy would tell us that talking has no value.  The enemy would try to convince us that we are too busy, we are too important, others are not worthy for us to take the time to talk with someone else today.  Yet through the example of Jesus Christ we know better.  Find someone to talk to today.  Start with Our Heavenly Father, then make and take time to speak with a loved one; a cherished family member or dear friend.  Finally, seek out one whom the world has overlooked; one in whom society has discarded as worthless, the very one Jesus went out of His way to find, and talk with them.  Talk of love.  Talk of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.  It is then that we will find that kind of talk not only has value; it is priceless.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have taken the time to talk with us throughout our history; through the prophets of old, through Your Son Jesus Christ, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, You have placed in us.   Thank you that You have also allowed us, Your creation, to talk with You and that You will listen.  Forgive us when we find little value in talking with You and go off to act in our own way.  Quiet us that we may hear Your words and humbly come before You with our praise and supplications in response.  That our talk with You and with others would bring praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen