He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”“Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Luke 20:24,25
Jesus is being challenged by the religious leaders and he knows it. Instead of venting his anger and frustration, he ask a question. The answer to that question gives him the “fuel” to lower the boom with a statement that epitomizes common sense and amazing wisdom. After you read his final response, you say to yourself, “That is the perfect answer!”
My friend and I are going through a daily bible study where we have to text each other a verse from the reading. This is the one I picked today. I chose it because I want wisdom like this on a daily basis. Life can definitely throw you some curve balls and when it does, I want to be able to say, “that was the perfect answer.” The perfect answer doesn’t happen very often – those are rare moments where wisdom, common sense, and Godly insight come together to give an answer and direction that move the entire group forward. But good, solid answers can be a normal occurence if you employ a great tool – ask good questions.
I remember sitting with my grandfather, Ed “Pop” Williams in 5th grade when he came to visit us in Florida. He was such a fascinating man – he had six children, a phrase “the queen is up” when my grandmother would wake up, a long career with Boston Gear and an insatiable desire to learn. In fact, when he retired from Boston Gear, he went back to Harvard as part of their seniors program. You could attend classes for free and he took full advantage of it. One class he told me about was where it was student led. Each student would get up and share a class lesson on their life passion. He said people would talk about WWW 2 planes, chinese culture, fitness, etc. I can only imagine the wealth of insights learned through that class. During this visit, Pop and I are talking and two things I have remembered since then. One, he shared with me the democratic process in America. He said, “This is what distinguishes America from all the other countries in the world.” Secondly, he said “Learn how to ask questions and more importantly, learn to ask the right questions.” It is one of the most important lessons I teach my kids, the people I mentor and anyone who wants to grow in their leadership.
Questions are fuel. If you want to grow, ask a lot of questions. If you are unsure of what the next step is, ask more questions. If you need more time to feel comfortable about a decision, clarifying questions will give you assurance. Finally, if you want to honor someone else, ask them questions about themselves. A question is not stalling or putting off what needs to be done. It is fuel that gives you more information, insights, assurance and new-found knowledge that will allow you to walk with more confidence and wisdom.
How does this come into play as a minister? I face life situations all the time when people walk in my door. If I rely on my wisdom, it isn’t going to get us very far. When I rely on Godly wisdom and insights from the Lord, I find myself saying things and yes, asking questions, that brings out the truth. I wish I could say every time is a winner. I get stumped just like everyone else. But when I feel a nudge from God to ask a question, it usually has a great effect on the outcome. You can ask God to give you right questions and answers. James 1:5 says, “ If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
To take a huge step in your approach to growth, ask more questions. Are you going to start today…that is a question?
(Can’t show you a picture of God, but here is one of Pop! He was the real deal!)