Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
So the other day I had to go to the dentist. Unlike a lot of people, I really don’t dread going to the dentist (please don’t read… I LIKE going to the dentist, I just don’t dread it). Anyway, I had to get my teeth cleaned and do the cavity check-up thing. It was there that I was reminded of something very significant. I like to talk. Apparently, I like to talk a lot.
How I came to this revelation is simply by finding myself unable to talk. My muteness this round wasn’t the result of being injected with Novocain (been there, mumbled that!), but rather was due to the fact I was in a bit of a hurry due to a meeting I needed to get to. Before we started I explained this to my hygienist. She, knowing time was of the essence, diligently went to work. Something I said (or didn’t say) must have caused her to decide she couldn’t afford to take her hands out of my mouth. So, instead of us talking, she talked. I listened while she talked. I didn’t talk.
Now, please understand, I LIKE my hygienist! She is a very pleasant lady who has a killer personality, and while she was she was scraping and grinding and polishing my teeth we could have just suffered together in silence. Thankfully, she decided not to add to the misery of having my teeth cleaned by saying nothing (or worse yet, mumbling “whoa” or “no way!” while looking inside my mouth). Instead, she began telling me about her husband, about their plans for a family, about their schooling careers, and about their professional careers, and about their dreams of doing life together. It was awesome to hear her tell about her life. And do you know what I said in response? You got it. Nothing. Couldn’t talk. She had her hands in my mouth.
There is something I’ve discovered about people and about life that caused this to bother me deeply. Here it is… People who never ask questions, or never advance a conversation by responding to what they are told, are the most boring of all people out there. Ask anybody! Well, not anybody. Ask someone who is interesting. I wasn’t interesting, I was incredibly boring. Did I mention I couldn’t talk?
For the record, she did ask me a number of questions. She’s an interesting person and she is an interested person. The problem was… all I could answer in response was to give that gagged and muted sound one only makes at the dentist. You know the sound. I just now tried to spell out that sound. I have no idea how so I just gave up. If you want to try it for yourself place both of your hands deep inside your mouth and try to say “Uh huh.” Write that down. It’s a most pathetic response.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 says,
“Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”
When you are in a conversation, how much interest do you show in the other person? Is your focus on yourself or on the other person? Do you use your conversations primarily to tell people things about yourself, or do you try to discover something about them? Focus on others and I promise you – you will be perceived as an interesting person. Why? Because you will be an interesting person!
The most interesting people are simply the most interested people.