Make it your goal to live your life in such a way that you give “them” something to talk about. By that I mean, live with such passion for God, with such ruthless trust in God’s goodness, with such great expectation for God’s power to be revealed through you, that you will become the fodder for water cooler conversations, dinner time talks, and bedtime stories. Whether your faith rubs people the wrong way or draws them to your God, it is a badge of honor that they are talking about you.
Going Deep // Focus: 2 Kings 8:4-6
The king had just said, “Tell me some stories about the great things Elisha has done.” And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land. “Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!” The king asked her, “Is this true?” And she told him the story.
Elisha had a unique calling, obviously. God did amazing things through this Old Testament prophet that he is not likely to do through believers like you and me—parting the waters of the Jordan, calling out bears to attack young people who made fun of him, pronouncing judgment on kings, performing miracles for destitute widows. Unlike us, Elisha and his predecessor Elijah occupied a very specialized niche in God’s prophetic economy, and the things God enabled them to do became fodder for dinner time conversations and bedtime stories throughout the generations of Israel. Even kings got in on the act:
Tell me stories about the great things Elisha has done. (2 Kings 8:4)
Yet as great as they were, they were just you and me. In fact, in the New Testament, James, the leader of the early church, said that Elijah was a human of like passions as us:
Yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. (James 5:17-18)
The implication is that we, too, will have our prayers heard when we offer them in Elijah/Elisha-like faith. So let’s not sell ourselves short: God can likewise use us in unique ways. Of course, how God uses us is up to him. Our part is to simply offer ourselves to him in wholehearted devotion, ruthless faith, and expectant trust, then leave the results up to God.
When we do that, we will leave them something to talk about. Who is “them”? The people in your world, that’s who—your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. They talked about Elisha; they will talk about you, too. It may not be because of the miracles that God works through you or the spectacular answers to your prayers—again, that is up to God—but for sure, they will talk about your passion for the Lord, your godly character, your willingness to speak his truth and to act lovingly in his name. They may speak in favorable ways, as the king did in Elisha’s case in the present story, or they may speak of you in a negative light, as the king did of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:26-31,
May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t separate Elisha’s head from his shoulders this very day. (2 Kings 6:31)
Good or bad, at least they were talking about Elisha. In reality, however, they were talking about God because of Elisha. And shouldn’t that be our goal? Shouldn’t we so live out our faith that we give them something to talk about, that we give them fodder for water cooler, or dinner table, or bedtime stories? If your goal in life is to avoid being the topic of conversation, I would suggest that is not a worthy goal. However, if your goal is to be a conversation starter for Jesus, then you have lived a noble life.
Today might be a good day to start living your public life with such devotion for God and passionate love for people that you give them something to talk about.