Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hearing Others Speak

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.  Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.  And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.  At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.  They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!     Acts 2:1-8(NLT)
Having been raised in the Northeast I spoke a different language than the new neighbors I encountered when we moved to rural Florida in 1977.  My ears were accustomed to youse guys, what-evah, and eating lunch for the noonday meal.  It took me forever to get accustomed to y’all, and being called darlin by someone other than my mother or my wife. 
When a dear church member gave us some vegetables from her garden she apologized for the small amount; the garden wasn’t makin’ good yet, but there was enough to make a mess.  My bride waited until we were on the way home and wondered aloud…why would Jean want us to make a mess with this squash?  Jean had been speaking Southern; we were hearing in Northern.
It was the exact opposite on the Day of Pentecost.  Peter spoke in his own language and a whole crowd of people (representing many language groups) heard perfectly – in their own language.  It was a miracle!
I recently watched a video describing how Waverly Labs has developed an earbud that allows for real time language translation.  You wear the earbud when someone is speaking another language, and you hear it translated.  It was invented by a guy who speaks English, but met and fell in love with a French-speaking girl.  
Love drives a lot, eh?
And that was the point of Pentecost.  The Gospel – the birth of Jesus, his sinless life, sacrificial death, victorious resurrection and glorious promise that He will return to usher-in His utter reign among God’s people, was a love story that needed to be told to everyone.  God was not about to let language get in the way.
My first thought about that language translation earbud was WOW!  On deeper reflection I began to imagine the implications for sharing the Gospel with others.  Missionaries going to new places where multiple dialects are spoken, international port city ministries where different language groups pass in and out daily; the list is endless.
Another thought I had was wistfully reminiscent; I wish they’d had this forty years ago when we moved to the South…I could’ve used a translator then!

For You Today

As a matter of course, guarding your heart is a good thing.  Part of that is checking up on your attitude.  That means asking yourself a question or two at the right time (NOW). 
Here’s a good one:  Do you ever let little differences between you and someone you don’t understand get in the way of the Gospel?
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!


[1] Title Image: By Spicer, William Ambrose, 1866- , via Wikimedia Commons

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