Friday, October 5, 2012

Open Ended Questions

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio.

In A conversation both share, both listen
Open ended questions are the kind of questions that don't allow you to get away with a nod of the head or a grunt or a simple yes or no. Open ended question require one to have to think, to have to express. They cause you to have to share your feelings or your perspective. The beauty of them is that they are the basis for forming a dialogue in which people converse sharing their thoughts and ideas.

Jesus asks open ended questions. For example in Luke 9:18 during a private prayer time with his disciples. He asked them "Who do the crowds say I am?" I suppose that is a less invasive question because they at that point only had to share the opinions of others. Jesus was just getting them warmed up. Then in verse 20 he asks "But what about you? he asked Who do you say I am?"
Yikes now the disciple will need to lay their own cards out on the table. Peter answers and says."The Christ of God."
Jesus often spoke in stories rather than just simply give the answer. The listener has to think it through and connect the dots. It then becomes that persons revelation, their own personal discovery. It is easy to be disconnected from facts and figures. When we have to work our way through a puzzel to find the solution we realize that we were given more that just a fish sandwich - we learned how to fish and make a meal for our selves.

You may find yourself crying out to God to tell you what you should do. You want answers and you want them now. You want the Lord to make his will very clear.  I love this quote from John 6  Jesus has just done the loves and fishes miracle and the crouds have come to find him on the other side of the lake. In verse 26 Jesus say " I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval"  They then they ask " What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus spells it out pretty clearly. "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."  They want him then to prove it by a miracle. They had to take that leap of faith to believe that Jesus himself was the bread that came down from heaven.  The doubters then raise their voices in verse 42 " Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?"

I guess my question to you is this. Tell me why the doubters could not connect the dots and believe?
Then tell me what doubts are you allowing to stand in the way of following Jesus?

I know for myself I often struggle to decide what are my own or others good ideas and what are the things that God has set before me to do. He leads us beside still waters, he restores our souls. If I will be quiet I am more able to hear the open ended questions in the dialoge that the Lord desires to have with me. 

Take a little time now and be quiet and still. Listen carefully. What is question is he asking you today? Write it down, think about it. It might be one of the ones I asked in this post or it may be something else. The answer you are seeking will be found as you enter into a dialoge with the Lord. He will help you to connect the dots. The problems you face he already has the solution but you need to work it out for yourself. You need to trust him to lead you step by step. If he were to show you the big picture you would likely go into over load and panic. He graciously will show you the next little step. Do that and he will show you the next steps as you get to them.

Jesus my shepherd, my guide on this journey, I look to you. You are the source of all that I need. You have the answers and I trust you to help me to see them. Help us to not just rattle off our long list of prayer demands but to enter into a conversation with you. Help us to share our heart and then to listen as you share yours. 


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