Some years ago, I stood on a bridge over the Drina River in Gorazde, Bosnia. I was with five others, one a resident and four others visiting from abroad. We had just observed the carnage of the Balkan war all around the town, and now we looked down at the once-beautiful river, which now reeked of everything from plastic trash bags to rotting carcasses of animals, big and small. Thousands of humans from both sides of the war lie in unmarked graves on the hillside – Muslims over there and Orthodox Christians over there.
I asked the group that if Jesus approached us on the bridge and we had the chance to ask him, “what should we do here in Gorazde?” how would Jesus respond? All kinds of suggestions ensured before we got to the one I was hoping for – business startups!
While it is true that I believed we were there to facilitate business startups, that is NOT the answer Jesus would give. In fact it is likely he would not give an answer at all.
Someone recently calculated that Jesus asked 307 questions (as recorded in the Gospels). He was asked 183 questions and only answered five of them. but often responded with a question of his own. What is that all about?
I am the kind of guy that wants answers. I give them and I expect answers of others. In our western culture we think that answers are more important than questions, but Jesus didn’t. Jesus gives us questions which cause us to think, to apply the question to our lives, and to see what’s ultimately important. For Jesus, the power of the question was to cause the person to participate in the process of understanding; it showed He cared about the whole person and was committed to their growth and development.
So what might Jesus have said in response to our question there on the bridge over the Drina? Maybe it would be something like:
- What do you see – from right here on the bridge?
- Why are you asking me this?
- What do the people most need at this very moment?
- If you really want to help, do you clearly understand how God the Father has gifted you with skills and abilities?
- What do you think is most needed here in Gorazde?
- What will have the most long-lasting impact?
- What do you think might best integrate faith in me as Savior of the world with their everyday lives?
- First let me tell you a story (parable)
Think about this – business entrepreneur, startup person, business as mission practitioner!!!
How did Jesus help? This is Jesus who knew all the answers even before the questions, but He held back from being a “know it all” answering machine. He asked questions because He cared, he loved the questioner and helped them reflect on his or her life and set it on a better course. Jesus seemed to know that questions were better than answering to give us hope.
Coaches – try it! BAM practitioner – try it! Business manager – try it! Investor – try it! Entrepreneur – try it! As a friend and Jesus follower – try it!
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures