Summary: Principles of effective communication.
Every one of us needs to know how to effectively communicate. Our relationships depend on it.
One of the most tremendous communicators in history was the Apostle Paul. Our Scripture text today gives us several insights into how we too can become effective in this strategic area of our lives.
1. A good communicator is complimentary. (Verse 8)
Paul was not using flattery. He was sincere. He bragged on the faith exhibited by the Roman church. He wasn’t the founder of the church at Rome, so it wasn’t like he was trying to take credit for their good qualities. He simply wanted them to know he was aware of the good name they had throughout the empire.
His compliment was a bridge to communication.
Before we interact with others they should have a sense of how much we value them.
Whether it is our spouse, our children, parents, co-workers, friends, - we shouldn’t keep our appreciation for them to ourselves.
Husbands and wives should express verbal appreciation for each other every day. Parents should rehearse to their children the good qualities they possess and compliment them continuously. Children need to be taught to thank their parents for the good they do for them.
And its not just WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.
And ancient king had a dream that all of his teeth had fallen out. He was naturally concerned about the meaning of this nightmare, so the next morning he sent for a soothsayer to interpret the meaning.
The soothsayer listened to the king as he rehearsed his dream back to him, pondered it for a moment or two, and then blurted out this pronouncement:
"Your Highness, the dream means that all your relatives will die and you will be left alone."
The royal ruler was furious at the soothsayer’s interpretation, and he demanded the sage remove himself from the palace at once. Then the king called for a second soothsayer. The second man listened to the king’s dream, pondered it, and then proclaimed:
"Rejoice, O King! The dream means that you will live many years. In fact, you will outlive all of your relatives! LONG LIVE THE KING!"
This interpretation so pleased the king that he gave the interpreter a large purse of gold.
2. A good communicator communicates first to God. (Verses 9-10)
It could be that Paul influenced more people for Christ by his prayers than by his preaching!
Paul mentions prayer in every correspondence to every individual or church with whom he kept in touch. He was not bashful about telling people that he was praying for them.
Even when he was imprisoned for proclaiming the Good News about Jesus, the jail cells might have hindered his preaching but they did not hinder his prayers.
When was the last time you told someone you were praying for them?
This principle will gain us a hearing. When you pray for someone God opens their heart and mind toward you and they are more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
A young boy went to the store with his mother. The shop owner, a nice man, passed him a large jar of suckers and invited him to help himself to a handful. Uncharacteristically, the boy held back. So the shop owner pulled out a handful for him.
When outside, the boy’s mother asked why he had suddenly been so shy and wouldn’t reach in for a handful of suckers when offered.
The boy replied, "Because his hand is much bigger than mine!"
When we pray we get God involved in our lives and in the lives of those with whom we are trying to communicate. His hand is definitely more influential than ours.
Notice the qualities of Paul’s prayers:
They were constant - "without ceasing".
They were personal - "making mention of you."
They were particular/detailed - "journey to Rome."
They were submissive - "by the will of God."
They were undemanding - "desire to go to Rome."
They were genuine - "God is my witness."
3. A good communicator gives and receives. (Verses 11-12)
We’re not sure in verse 11 if Paul was meaning that he was going to use his spiritual gifts to help the Roman believers or if he was actually going to lay hands on them and impart spritual gifts to them as an emissary of the Holy Spirit.
Both interpretations are possible. What matters for our present consideration is that he wanted to GIVE to the Roman believers. In verse 12 we learn that he wanted his gift sharing to be mutual. He confessed his need for the Romans to use their spiritual gifts to minister to him as well.
When did you last give a gift to someone or graciously receive one from another person?