As I was getting out of the elevator on my way back to our hotel room, a member of the hotel staff asked me a question. I couldn’t understand him and asked him to please repeat. He made another attempt, this time slower and with greater emphasis. I still didn’t understand him and asked if he would please repeat it again to me. He did, and I didn’t.
So he tried using one word as a question: “Checkout?” To that I replied, “Yes.” He smiled and we both went our ways. As I walked down the hall, I heard him dialoging in his native language with the housekeeping staff.
I thought about how important it is that we speak the language of those we are called to serve. I wondered how different our level of communication might have been if that fellow spoke English all the time instead of his native tongue. If they constantly spoke English among themselves is it possible they would be better equipped when speaking with the majority of their customers.
I then thought about my role as a father. I am so grateful for the weekly time I spend with each of my children on Sundays. I treasure the one-on-one time when we meet to discuss any problems they might have with me or with others in the family. We also discuss any other topic that is on their hearts. As a result of those meetings, we know each other well and can communicate on a deep level. I treasure my ability to speak on a heart level daily with those in my family.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Can you speak the language of those you are called to serve? It takes effort to (re)learn to speak their language.