DEVOTIONAL: Want To Be A Better Conversationalist? (2)

(…T)hey found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  — Luke 2:46b (NASB)

According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), “social isolation and loneliness have become widespread problems in the United States, posing a serious threat to our mental and physical health. Social isolation and loneliness have been linked to increased risk for: heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and anxiety, addiction, suicidality and self-harm, dementia, [and] early death.”

“But isn’t some ‘me time’ healthy?” you ask.

Yes. The problem is, too much “alone time” can be toxic. As someone put it, “Solitude is life-giving, but isolation can be deadly.”

In fact, for over 2,000 years, the Bible has been warning against the dangers of cutting yourself off from others. “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” (Prov. 18:1 ESV).

Thankfully, the Bible also gives us cures for isolation and loneliness: living in community.

This has many facets, but one aspect is being better at engaging others in conversation. It’s related to getting better at asking questions.

In today’s verse, in one of the few glimpses the Bible gives us of Jesus’ childhood, we see the twelve-year-old in the Temple in Jerusalem, among the religious scholars, “listening (…) and asking them questions.”

Later, as an adult during His three years of public ministry, Jesus asked many questions. A few are:

  • “’But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’” (Matthew 16:15 NIV)
  • “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6b NIV)
  • Sometimes Jesus even answered a question with a question: “He answered, ‘What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?’” (Luke 10:26 The Message)

When we speak of “learning from Jesus,” we often think of love, forgiveness, grace, etc.,… but one aspect is asking questions.

The legendary Larry King, who died at age 87 in 2021, conducted more than 30,000 interviews during his 65-year-long radio and TV career, and his hallmark was his knack to ask good questions. Incredibly, King interviewed every US president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.

He even hosted his namesake CNN TV show, Larry King Live, from 1985 until 2010, and he once revealed his “secret sauce” this way: “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. I never learned anything while I was talking.”

The word for you today is: Ask more questions.



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