“What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

~Matthew 20:21, NLT


The art of communication is the language of leadership.

~James Humes

We all know how important effective communication is but for those of us who are in positions of leadership and especially pastors, it is comforting to know that Jesus, the perfect communicator, was often misunderstood. Matthew 2o gives us a great example. The disciples had already approached Jesus and asked point blank, “Which one of us will be the greatest when You come into Your kingdom?” Jesus called a child and used the child as an illustration: He said, “If you don’t become like this little child, you will not get into the kingdom.” Jesus took this opportunity to teach His disciples that in His Kingdom, those who serve are the greatest. Jesus also told them that many who are first now will be last then and vice versa. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Before I come into My Kingdom, I must suffer. I will be betrayed to the chief priest and other Jewish leaders. They will condemn Me to die and then hand Me over to the Romans. Then I will be mocked and crucified but on the third day, I will arise to life again.” [Matthew 20:18-19]

It was right after this insightful revelation of what was about to happen, that Salome approached Jesus with her very vain and selfish request. Evidently, Salome nor her sons were listening to Jesus discourse on His betrayal and suffering. This tells me that their mind was somewhere else. The same thing happens every Sunday. People come and sit, their eyes are open but their brain is asleep. They hear but they don’t understand because they are not listening. Like Salome, their minds are on something else. Some are dreaming about lunch or their next vacation. There are very few active listeners in today’s world. Perhaps this is due to all the distractions. June and I ate at Cheddar’s last Saturday and a family of five was seated next to us. In a few minutes, I punched June and said, “look at this.” Four of the five had their eyes glued to their phone and the fifth looked lonely and bored. Last Sunday at lunch, Chloe never put her phone down. She played on the phone the entire time never touching her food. Cell phones may be the ruination of this country.

I don’t think Jesus was shocked when aunt Salome approached Him: He knew that neither her nor her sons had been listening. If people failed to hear Jesus, it is going to happen to us. We study, pray and make a clear presentation but our listeners aren’t listening. It is very discouraging. I know what you are thinking, there is always room for improvement when it comes to communication skills but what about Jesus? Did He need to improve? Ron Dunn was a great preacher. He had a guy come up to him after one of his messages and say, “Preacher, did you know we have 365 lights in the sanctuary.” That will really bless a preachers heart. Another story happened just across the river. A man came forward during the invitation and the pastor was excited because he thought he was coming to repent of his critical spirit and negative attitude. Instead of taking the preachers hand, he handed him a Sunday bulletin and said, “Who proofs our bulletin, I found four mistakes.” That will get a revival going. It is not bad preaching folks, its our lack of attention. Our minds are not in tune with the Spirit of God. We have them set on selfish and vain things, not on things above. God will hold us accountable for the truth spoken whether we heard it or not.

  • I am tickled pink, make that red. I got a lot of things done yesterday {July 2}. In my old age I am slow as Christmas but I was thrilled to get several projects completed.
  • I know everyone is getting ready for July 4th. Here is a good video to get your celebrations started:

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