Incomprehensible Stuttering… Can’t I Make Myself Clear?

by | May 20, 2008 | Great Commission, Witnessing

Your mission: You are to parachute into the remotest of areas in the Amazon jungles of Paraguay. You are to make your way to the nearest tribe and convince them of the wonders of technical advancement. Should you succeed in your mission, you will be awarded $10,000,000. Wow!

You know that the native people have never seen a white man before, and this thought makes you self-confident. “Piece of cake!” You mumble. “They’ll be eating out of the palm of my hand by sunset!”

With the help of your personal interpreter, you begin: “Dear friends, I am here to share with you the wonders of modern technology!”

That’s as far as you get before you are interrupted. You wait patiently for your interpreter to tell you what the old man said: “Technology? What’s technology?”

What? They don’t know what technology is? It has never occurred to you that these people wouldn’t even know what technology is! You swallow. You will just have to speak simply and to the point. How hard can that be?

“Technology is the world outside of these jungles!” You explain. “Do you know how I got here?”

As one, the natives shake their heads at the interpreter’s words.

“By airplane! An airplane is a kind of bird made by humans in which people like you can fly! That’s technology!”

You are encouraged. They look impressed! But then one of them cries out incredulously: “Show us!”

“I-I can’t!” You stammer. “I don’t have the plane with me!”

“Ridiculous!” Exclaim the rest of the group.

“We also have cars, man-made devices that take us from one place to another without the help of animals. This, by the way, is how I get to work.”

Your statement creates a frenzy of excitement. Yes! You are getting somewhere! But then your interpreter explains what they are saying: “They say that you talk nonsense. They ask why anyone would need such a device when everything they need is so close by!”

Good point. Hum. You decide to stay away from modern transportation, and instead you focus on technological home advancements.

“We have homes as high as your trees, where thousands of people live.”

“That must be quite a busy tree!” Laughs a woman in the crowd. “Does anyone fall out?”

“Not at all!” You assure her. “Our trees are made of cement.”

“Cement?” Questions a curious one. “What is cement?”

“It’s a mixture of different materials, like mixing dirt and water together.”

“That’s not practical at all!” Shouts a child. “If I mix dirt and water together, it breaks as soon as I touch it!”

“The materials we have are stronger!” You insist, beginning to wish that you could have brought pictures with you.

“I wouldn’t want to live in the top of a tree!” Exclaims an older woman. “I’d have to climb down a long way in order to relieve myself!”

“Not at all!” You hurry to assure her. “We have bathrooms in our cement trees. We use toilets to relieve ourselves!”

“Bathrooms?” Mumbles one, as if trying to figure out what that could be.

“Toilets?” Echoes another. “What are toilets?”

You try to stay calm, to keep your frustration under control. “In a bathroom you can take a shower.” But then you realize they won’t know what a shower is either and you hasten to add: “Its water spraying over your whole body. Kind of like rain, only man made!”

“Fantasies!” Yells the chief. “You’re just telling us fairy tales!”

“No,” you insist through your interpreter. “It’s all true! A toilet is about this high!” You lower your hand to about two feet off of the ground. “You sit on it to relieve yourself, and then water appears to flush it all away.”

“Where does it go?” Asks the curious one.

“It goes into the sewer.”

“A sewer?” Interrupts a toothless woman. “What’s a sewer?”

This time you decide to ignore her. “We also have radios. They are small boxes where you can hear people sing and talk. And we have televisions, you know, flat, about this high!” You indicate about a meter with your hand. “They permit us to see and hear people in action…”

“You mean there are people that small?” Questions a child with a dirty face.

As time has gone by, the chief seems to be getting more and more agitated. You decide to ignore it: “We also have stoves. They permit us to cook food without having to start a fire…”

The chief stands up abruptly, and his very presence silences the people. Then he begins to speak, and though you don’t understand the words, they hold the people in total silence.

“What’s he saying?” You whisper to your interpreter.

“He says that you are crazy,” answers your honest guide. “He says you are trying to confuse them with your fantasies. He is telling the people to go back to their work and ignore your ravings.”

And just like that, the natives stand up and wander away.

“No!” You yell. “Stop! Everything I’ve said is true. It really is! How can I make you believe what I am saying?”

But there are now only a few youngsters left, and these are rolling in the dirt with laughter. An older one tries to imitate you, which makes the younger ones laugh even harder.

You stamp your foot in frustration as you see your millions of dollars evaporating into thin air. You have failed. But why? You told them the truth, why can’t anyone see it?

Friends, we are all on a mission, one that is far more rewarding than millions of dollars. We are on a mission to tell the world about Jesus. But I’m afraid that many of us are no more successful than this person in the story. Why? Let’s look to 2 Cor. 4 for the answer: “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.” (2 Cor 4:1-5 NIV)

On our own, witnessing is as impossible as trying to convince those Paraguayian natives of the wonders of modern technology. The gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe. It is only by depending solely upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit that people will see the truth: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13 NIV).

We are God’s messengers, the ones who drop the seed. It is the Holy Spirit who must make that seed grow: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” (Matt 13:31-32 NIV)

Would you like to know your next mission? See Matthew 28:19! And remember, your reward will await you in Heaven. It’s even better than 10,000,000$, so don’t forget to follow His lead!

By the way, can you explain to me what a DVD burner is?

Never mind, my kids beat you to it!

Rob Chaffart


Incomprehensible Stuttering… Can’t I Make Myself Clear?