Lets review what we’ve covered so far:
In my experience, a good question is almost always more effective than a good statement. A good statement can inspire. A good statement can impress. But a good question gets under your skin and won't leave you alone.Why is that? Why is a good question asked at the right time so powerful?
Can you think of a time when the most helpful words you heard were not a statement, but a question? What was that question?
What are your go-to questions? (List a few). Now, score each of your questions according to the following criteria.
.Is this question spiritual?
.Is this question open? Or is it a yes/no, right/wrong question?
.Is this question clarifying? Does it get at the core issue?
.Is this question disturbing? Does it question assumptions?
33% of births in the US happen by c-section. 24% of California births are c-section. What's surprising is how much that statistic varies from hospital to hospital. For instance, at Sutter Roseville, the c-section rate is 22%. At Sutter Davis the c-section rate is 12%.
Any idea why the rates of c-sections in the same system in the same region can be so different? This was the question investigated in a recent state-wide study which found that the only verifiable reason for the difference is the culture of the hospital: essentially the premise or starting point of the most-influential doctors.
This just speaks to the power of your premise - or your starting conviction - in whatever you do, including the care of souls. Really this comes down to your view of God and man.
I have two fireplaces. One burns gas. Behind glass sit poorly-painted concrete “logs” meant to give an appearance of something real. But it’s not a real fireplace. I flip a switch on the wall, the flame ignites, and there’s an immediate fire. It looks good but it makes little difference. It doesn’t heat the room. It’s essentially an unused decoration.
The other is a wood-burning stove. It’s big and heavy and makes a statement in our living room. It requires a lot of work – there’s the daily carrying in of wood, the emptying of ashes, the regular maintenance. It requires lots of time and it occupies lots of space. It’s immovable so we’ve arranged the furniture around it (which has limited our options and, at times, has felt inconvenient).
And it heats the whole house.
It’s remarkably effective. Throughout the winter it completely changes the environment of our home. It calmly contains the powerful presence of real fire.
Here’s my point: you cannot instantly provide solid, lasting, meaningful soul care. It’s not like flipping a switch. Effective soul care draws from deep reservoirs of spiritual truth experienced real life. Those who provide good soul care for others have nurtured their own souls over time. They’ve daily carried the fuel for fire. They’ve regularly acknowledged and emptied their lives of the ashes of resentment and pride. They’ve done the unremarkable maintenance which enables their day-to-day lives to roar with love and wisdom and compassion for the hurting, and to sustain this heat for long seasons of need. This capacity to carry fire has required lots of time. The commitment to be a provider of warmth has occupied significant space in their life. They’ve ordered other priorities around this one and it’s not often been convenient.
And slowly, they’ve become effective. They’ve developed a real capacity to hold the powerful presence of God and to offer His healing to others. They’ve become midwives who tend to the birthing of new life. They’ve learned to care for souls.