Submitted by Keith Yoder, Founder and Minister, TTWM
It was a cross cultural setting. I understood that I would have three hours to conduct a workshop. I knew that I had transforming truth to share. However, the host ministry prepared their regular traditional order of service involving a progression of approximately a dozen activities. When I saw the bulletin, the inner tension began to mount. I would not have three hours!
I conversed inwardly with the realization that their expectations and mine were different—a common source of conflict among Christians. While I am normally low intensity, compliant, and accommodating, multiple reasons to be offended bombarded my mind. I had come a long distance, I had many more concepts on the topic than I could possibly communicate in three hours. Additionally, I was only to fill a slot in their traditional order of service. They don’t know what they are missing, I thought.
It was just an hour earlier that I had taught on the Pouring Out Principle. David illustrated this principle at Adullam when he took the refreshing water was rightfully his to enjoy and poured it out before the Lord as an act of worship. Doing so honored the blood (the source of life in the body) of those who risked their lives to obtain it for him. We also may live sacrificially and sacramentally. Pouring out may also apply to what should have been, or could have been, but isn’t. Before me was the opportunity to turn the disappointment of not teaching as I had planned into worship.
After wrestling the inward struggle into alignment with the spirit of Christ, I eventually returned to peace in my heart that governed my emotions. In those moments I realized that I didn’t know what the specific arrangements were, the importance of the order of service to these people, and the plans God had for me. In brief, my hosts and I didn’t know what we didn’t know.
While there are multiple principles to consider in this vignette, the Holy Spirit highlighted the following for our leadership: humility, inquiry, creativity.
Humility preserves us from prideful assumptions that we know everything we need to know. We need to hear and learn from others. My assumption that I knew what they needed was not rooted in humility. A more helpful posture I may have had is “I don’t know what I don’t know.”
How do we know the facts about a situation? The Levites were to conduct a thorough investigation before drawing a conclusion about the character and/or guilt of an accused person. A spirit of inquiry verifies what is true before making a hasty judgment about merits or shortcomings. We don’t know what we don’t know.
Creativity also leads us to explore the unknown, the possibility, the potential. Creativity generates fresh understanding at the intersection of the known and unknown. It refreshes our traditional way of doing things—especially with what do not presently know. The creative person values the discovery of what “I don’t know.”
I have a new appreciation for WHAT I DON’T KNOW.
Scriptural Foundation: II Samuel 23;8-17; Deuteronomy 17:4; 19:18