Have you ever had something that you wanted to learn to operate more effectively—perhaps a piece of equipment, a computer program, or a talent? How about your ministry of reconciliation?
II Corinthians 5:18:
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
God has given the born-again believer something very exciting to operate—the ministry of reconciliation! Once we know that we have it, we can learn to operate it effectively. For instance, how do we start conversations with people so we can share the good news with them? How can we smoothly transition a conversation to the subject of Jesus Christ? Well, each person is unique, and there are many ways to operate this dynamic ministry, but God’s Word does give us some tips.
One tool that we can use to help us effectively operate our ministry of reconciliation is the question. The Bible shows the use of this tool by some of the great Word movers of all time.
Let’s consider two Biblical examples of using questions to get conversations to the subject of God’s Word. The first is Jesus Christ. He often asked questions before sharing the Word.
And he said unto them [two disciples on the road to Emmaus], What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
Jesus Christ started this conversation by asking a question. He then listened carefully to the concerns of these two disciples and asked a follow-up question to get to the specific need they had (Luke 24:19). After they shared their concerns with him, he shared the fitly spoken Word with them to meet their need. After the conversation, they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32). Using questions helped Jesus Christ reach their hearts with God’s Word.
Philip “the evangelist” also used the question to operate his ministry of reconciliation.
And Philip ran thither to him [a man of Ethiopia], and heard him read the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Philip assessed the situation and asked a very relevant question, “Do you understand what you are reading?” This man answered honestly and gave Philip the opportunity to share the precise Word with him that ministered to his life. Philip’s question opened the door for this man to ask for help in the area where he needed and wanted it.
We can use the question to effectively operate our ministry of reconciliation today. As these Biblical examples show, the question is an excellent tool in moving God’s Word. Why is a question such a powerful and timeless tool? Our questions can show that we care; they can stimulate others to think; and they can open, direct, and transition conversations in a natural way. When we ask someone a question, it invites the other person to consider a matter, express himself, and make known his needs.
Asking questions also gives us the opportunity to listen well, which helps us understand the other person and identify genuine needs in his life. When we ask questions, we really listen to the other person’s answer in order to understand; then we can respond with “a word in season” (Isaiah 50:4)—a specific section of scripture or Biblical principle that is going to hit the sweet spot for the person we are talking to.
…that I may open my mouth boldly….
Asking a question can make opening a conversation simple and fun. You can ask questions that you are sincerely interested in knowing the answer to and that will get the conversation to the Word. For example, you could ask something about the person you want to speak to, ask about a current event, or you can simply ask someone what they think about God or His Word.
We each have a dynamic and powerful ministry of reconciliation that we can learn to operate effectively. Following the examples of Jesus Christ and Philip, we can ask questions and listen wholeheartedly to understand so that we can speak the Word of God that will reach the heart and bring life and peace.
Think of some questions that you could ask as you are out and about, and then find someone to start a conversation with. Experience the power of the question for yourself and enjoy operating your amazing ministry of reconciliation to an even greater degree!