Located in Belgium, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO), one of NATO's two strategic military commands. While visiting SHAPE headquarters a group of about twenty of us received a briefing from Admiral James Stravidus. Unlike any other meeting we attended over a five week period (spanning multiple organizations and three and four star headquarters), Admiral Stravidus used only pictures. His presentation was spell-binding. Not only did the use of pictures free of verbiage help us to concentrate more on his words, they also reinforced what he was trying to say so that we were better able to understand his intent. He is a dynamic leader who demonstrates an uncanny ability to clearly express himself.
Joel 2:31—The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the LORD comes.
To get the attention of His people, God often spoke to His prophets by using word pictures. In warning of God’s impending Day of Judgment, Joel warned his countrymen, “A fire destroys in front of them, and behind them a flame devours. The land in front of them is like the Garden of Eden, but behind them, it is like a desert wasteland; there is no escape from them” (2:3). Imagine the thoughts that must have gripped Israelites as they who were familiar with disasters, contemplated great fires and devastation. Raging fires, a wasteland, a sun-less day and a red moon were all images they could understand and no doubt stuck in their minds. Word pictures and real pictures are effective ways to bring understanding.
Too often when we have important things to say we can be lazy and choose words and means to convey ideas that are overused or irrelevant to the life of the one listening. For example, if a person is struggling with sin and needs Jesus’ grace, instead of drawing a bridge and putting a divide between the person and heaven, why not use a graphic image with which they can better relate? My friend Brian would say, “Have you ever put together a jig-saw puzzle?” If the person nods yes, he says, “Imagine if you were trying to put together a puzzle and some of the pieces were missing.” Most listeners can easily identify with a puzzle missing pieces and the problem that presents. Brian goes on to share with his listener that by engaging in what is wrong that person destroys what God intended to be beautiful and complete. If we are disappointed by our inability to complete a puzzle, imagine how God feels looking at our corrupted condition.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? If we care about people, let’s make the time and effort to be creative in sharing! Jesus told parables, prophets used graphic descriptions, what are we using to reach people with the truth?
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)