We had another church gathering yesterday. I had a great time and I hope everyone else did, too. I was encouraged in Christ. I think others were as well.
It struck me as I looked around that we do a lot of talking when we get together. As soon as we arrived, our family split in different directions. We began talking with adults and kids immediately after coming through the front door. For about the first thirty minutes or so I was engaged in three or four different conversations.
We gradually moved to the living room. The meeting took on a bit more structure as we sat down on couches, chairs, and the floor. We were all invited and encouraged to speak words of testimony, read from scripture, sing, pray, give praise, etc. Not everyone did speak, but everyone had the opportunity to do so. As is usually the case, the dads (who function as elders) did most of the talking. I'm not suggesting that elders have to talk the most, but this is how things tend to go in our gatherings.
At a little after noon we concluded our study of Amos chapter 8. We then delved into the Lord's Supper, eating sub sandwiches, chips, salsa, and brownies. Nice. I ventured outside to sit on the back porch. Several other dads joined me. We ate and talked about all sorts of things. The unity of the body was one of the primary topics; not the unity of our local fellowship but rather the unity of the broader church as a whole. We talked about how we could actively try as individuals to encourage unity amongst fellow believers.
I'm not a big talker by nature. In fact, I'm kind of quiet. Maybe that's one of the reasons I blog. Anyway, conversation, especially in a group setting, is not my "cup of tea." However, when the body gathers I find it easier to talk. Maybe this is because we all have one glorious thing in common - Jesus Christ. Being in Him causes us to all share the most important thing possible. This shapes our worldviews, our thoughts, our dreams, our desires, our convictions, and of course what we desire to talk about.
I love talking as we gather as the church. I also enjoy talking as I see others within the church during the week. Talking is simply something that Christians should be doing a lot of together.
Talking necessitates listening. If you talk a lot but no one is listening, you may be regarded as not playing with a full deck. If you never listen, you won't have many friends. Church gatherings, therefore, teach us both the art of talking and listening. The goal of all this is body edification.
As you gather with your church family, do you talk a lot? What do you talk about? Are you encouraged to talk? What about listening?
It seems so basic, but at the same time it is critically important. If we actively talk and actively listen, we can accomplish much edification for both ourselves and others. Let's do so.