“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt...” Colossians 4:6
How can our normal conversations point people to Jesus and create an interest in spiritual things? Jeannie Marie, author of Across the Street and Around the World, encourages the practice of starting spiritual conversations through Shema statements. Shema means “Listen!” in Hebrew and in invites people to hear something important. God is always at in work in hearts of people around us, and Shema statements allow us to test the spiritual openness of the people we encounter.
Jeannie says, “Jesus talked about casting spiritual seed, ‘messages of the Kingdom’, widely on the soil of people’s hearts to see what will take root (Matthew 13:1-23). Casting spiritual seed often, widely, on the landscape of people’s everyday life draws out those God prepares ahead of time. It also establishes you as a person of faith, and people will approach you when they feel troubled, or when they have spiritual questions later.”
A Shema statement can invite someone into a spiritual conversation, at their initiative, on a topic that interests them. Here are some examples of Shema statements…
- When someone has been kind or caring: Your care reminds me that God cares for all of us.
- When you blow it: I am sorry for what I did, I am a follower of Christ, and I need to say I'm sorry.
- When you get back too much change: You gave me too much change. I am a follower of Christ and it does not honor his generosity to me by cheating you.
- When someone is ill: I know that you are ill, Can I pray for you? I believe that Jesus can heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- When someone shares a fear or concern: I can see that you are worried, Jesus loves us and looks out for us. He cares about you and your problems. He can be trusted even when life is uncertain.
- When sharing a meal: We are about to pray for our meal, is there something that we can pray about for you?
Which of these ideas for Shema statements could you try this week?