I ran across a story awhile back about a blind man sitting on the steps of a building with a sign by his feet that read: "I am blind, please help." A creative publicist was walking by the blind man and stopped to observe that the man only had a few coins in his hat. He put a few of his own coins in the hat, and without stopping to ask for permission, took the sign, turned it around, and wrote a new message. He then placed the sign by the feet of the blind man, and left. Later that afternoon the creative publicist returned by the blind man and noticed that his hat was almost completely full of bills and coins. The blind man recognized his footsteps and asked if it was him who had changed his sign. He also wanted to know what the man wrote on it. The publicist replied: "I just changed your message so people could relate to it." He wished the man well, said goodbye, and went on his way. The blind man didn't know it, but his new sign now read:
"TODAY IS SPRING AND I CANNOT SEE IT."
It’s amazing how simple words arranged in coherency according to proper rules of syntax and grammar can move our hearts and draw us to action. Both messages on the blind man’s sign were true, but one created awareness, empathy, and action while the other was blurred by the overstimulation of messages thrust upon those passing by.
Jesus was like that. He was a Master at arranging words in such a way that eternity was thrust into moments of time. He saw what others couldn’t, and He opened the heavens to the eyes of the spiritually blind. He took an act of radical devotion (Mark 14:3-9) and used it as a foreshadowing of His burial. He spoke rigorous words of commitment (Mark 8:34-38) and comforting words of peace (Matthew 11:28-30). He connected historical events to the message of His life (Matthew 12:40), and He used activities common in an agrarian society as expressions of uncommon truth (Luke 8:4-15).
I was at the Indiana Prayer Breakfast a couple of weeks ago and had the opportunity to hear Ravi Zacharias speak. Dr. Zacharias is perhaps the premier Christian apologist of the late 20th-early 21st centuries. I was spellbound when he said, “Eternity's anvil was provided against which the hammers of time must find their meaning.” I mean, who talks that way? The richness, poetry, and imagery take us to newer heights of understanding.
For those of you, like me, who need to read a Ravi Zacharias quote four times before it starts to sink in, don’t despair. The issue is not making the simple complex but the complex simple. The issue is making the bland tasteful and the dark winter give way to the freshness of spring. When you combine the power of words and the power of the Spirit, hearts are opened, the blind see, and the oppressed are set free.
So the next time you’re engaging a friend in a conversation, think how your words, empowered by the Spirit, can bring life, hope, and healing. There’s nothing wrong with talking about sports or the weather, but try to paint a picture with your friend that brings life to a blank or broken canvas.
Remember, the key is not how much knowledge you have in your head but how much of Jesus you have in your heart. Aspire to grow in knowledge, especially wisdom, but not in contrast from a heart yielded to Christ. Jesus quoted from Psalm 8:2 when He said, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise” (Matthew 21:16). Solomon wrote, “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off” (Proverbs 10:31).
As the old adage goes, “Watch your tongue!” But more importantly, “Watch your heart,” “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).