People of the third and fourth question

My third cold in the last eight weeks has just started.  In fact, I think there’s only been one week in that time where I’ve actually felt totally and completely well, albeit tired.  (But I’m always tired these days!)

So I hope you’ll excuse me when I say that, having in this same eight weeks also dealt with a pile of second marking, written and preached five* sermons, produced 7000 research words as well as another 3000 for other projects plus whatever I may have blogged in that time, I have no more energy for original thinking or inspiration!  Accordingly, I am simply going to leave you with this thought from Dan Allender’s Leading with a Limp this week:

Psycholinguists, those who study how we talk with each other, tell us that it is rare for a person to ask more than two meaningful questions of another person, especially if that person is in distress.  We want to help, to quickly resolve the struggle.  But we don’t want to suffer someone else’s helplessness or confusion.

That, friends, is frightening!

So here’s the challenge.  What if you and I were to choose to become people of the third and fourth question in coming weeks, people who would invite the broken to risk escaping their silence, who would draw them into the safety of relationship with another?

I dare you!

Image credit

*  One of said sermons ended up being set aside at the very last minute, for which read ‘thirty seconds before taking the lectern’, in favour of my first ever ex tempore preach.  The things God makes you do sometimes, eh?!  But twenty-five minutes later, I had to accept that even introverts can preach without notes or indeed preparation on occasion…  Peter did start off by telling me that I preached better without preparation than when I have prepared – until I pointed out that to say I preached equally well without preparation might be the better compliment!!

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