I believe conversation is the currency of relationships.
Conversation empowers us to exchange values and invite investment into our lives. Those everyday moments where we listen to a few words here and give a couple ideas there topple like coins into the fragile containers we call our soul -- our mind, will, and emotions.
Over time these moments add up, with each one holding a different weight. Naturally, not all conversations are the same; that would be boring. Like currency, each one holds its own value.
High-Value vs. Low-Value Investments
Conversation is currency, and many of us don't know how to be good investors.
We'll find ourselves spending the most time in the least valuable conversations, even with those closest to us. Potential feelings of awkwardness or insecurity force frugal "investments," which looks like a quick chat about the weather or a task that needs to be done. You could think of these as low-value conversations.
High-value conversations are the ones where their worth, practicality and impact are timeless. In most cases, we experience high-value conversations when we learn from promises, principles and testimonies. Specifically, these conversations will emphasize what is:
- Worthy of praise
These are the conversations that leave your soul feeling full. You might have shared a high-value conversation if you’ve said things like, "That was life-giving," or "I feel so much better after talking with you," or "I feel like we’re closer now."
High-value conversations are not only what we want to have with our families and closest friends; they are the ones we need to have.
It is through conversation you invest in others. The words you share and the stories you tell have the potential for profound impact, one that can draw a vivid picture of who we are and who God is calling us to be.
But, if you're like me, high-value conversations seem to come at a high cost. Finding the right words, time, person, and purpose is a shared struggle. But it doesn't have to be.
Because of the inheritance we have in Jesus Christ and His Word, we have everything we need to regularly invest in high-value conversations. And we don't need an uninterrupted schedule or a prepared Bible study every time to be good investors.
Small Moments = Big Opportunities
We often think that high-value conversations can only happen in undistracted, one-on-one, focused moments. But actually, they are only limited by our readiness.
Peter, an apostle and leader of the early church, wrote, "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect …" (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).
Peter encourages us to keep a ready mind, able to point at the hope that is living and active in our lives. From daily tasks in our homes to our public lives with others, in our resting and our rising, there is always a reason to be ready (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Many people may never ask about the hope that is in you, but they will wonder. It is from this position we can identify big opportunities in small moments.
Identifying the Opportunity
Now that you’re ready to invest in conversation, here's what you can look for:
- The Need -- what you talk about
- The Time -- how you talk about it
- The Place -- your source of inspiration
- The Goal -- why you’re bringing it up
Understanding how the four of these work together will help you experience high-value conversations at a lower cost to your time, effort and energy.
See the Need
The greatest speakers are better listeners. As you go about your day, take notice of how often you ask questions. How often do you ask something of someone versus about someone? Are you asking closed questions that limit the person to a simple "Yes" or "No"?
A question is an invitation; it sends the message that you want to understand and you're willing to figure it out together. A simple switch to asking more questions about others will naturally open up opportunities for high-value conversation and give you insight into a need you could serve.
Be Sensitive to the Time
God's Word is filled with high-value conversations. They give us insight into how we could experience conversations like this too.
And the best part is, many of them are short.
"Follow me" (Matthew 4:19; 16:24)
"Be strong and courageous" (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:6)
"Love one another" (John 13:34; Romans 12:10)
"Do not be anxious" (Matthew 6:25; Philippians 4:6)
Keep it short. Boil down the main point you want to convey, and share it. Shorter phrases allow things to be repeatable—and what's repeated is remembered.
As you're homeschooling, cleaning, walking, riding, and driving, these high-value conversations can happen in less than four words. Yet, these kinds of words carry with them the weight that fills our souls -- our mind, will, and emotions -- for as long as we remember them.
Draw Inspiration From Where You Are and What You're Doing
During his earthly ministry, we see Jesus meeting both physical and spiritual needs. Feeding the hungry in both stomach and spirit; healing the sick in both body and soul. We see Him doing this through conversations around parables -- earthly stories revealing heavenly realities.
Many parables drew inspiration from the environment around them or an activity they were doing. He used the varying conditions of soil and a farmer's attempt at planting seed to show how the conditions of our hearts affect our openness to God's Word (Matthew 13:1-23); He used the light on a lamp to talk about the difference hope can make in a dark world (Matthew 5:13-16). But no matter what parable He used, Jesus would ask a question, identify the need, and use a parable to bridge the gap between where we are and where we could be in Him.
Today, there are ways we can think in parables too. You can use holidays, special events, sports, and arts to draw parallels to what you're learning in your relationship with God. One of the most simple ways is actually through film. The storytelling allows you to point clearly at a moment and transition into high-value conversations at a low cost.
That's why we focus on creating media experiences that can help people reach and connect others to Jesus.
For example, we've partnered with FamilyLife to create the Family Easter Adventure in the Voke app. It's a series of five short videos that you can watch and talk about with others digitally. This allows you to identify a need, be mindful of the time, and draw inspiration from the videos to help you have high-value conversations about Easter -- the event that changed everything.
It is through conversation you pass down the riches of a timeless faith, one that will carry others through every stage and season of life.
Remember the Goal
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ and leader of the early church movement, wrote in his letter to the Ephesians about an inheritance we have received as a gift from God. He says,
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you ..." (1 Peter 1:3-4, ESV).
Knowing this inheritance is key to high-value conversations. Not only will this inheritance never lose its value, but it also never runs out. It includes access to a deep and full peace, love, joy, hope, and grace. From this inheritance, we become a wealth of information and life to those around us.
Because of Christ, we can be nothing but generous with this inheritance. Your conversation currency will never lose its value or run dry when you talk about the promises, principles, and the testimonies from God's Word, and from your own life. Now, it's only a matter of sharing the inheritance in small, everyday moments.