By Tasha Hart
When my mom told us kids to do something, she would immediately follow up with this question: “Do you understand me?” I pitied the foolish child who would ever dare to answer her question with a no. But Mom knew it wasn’t enough for her to just communicate. She had to be sure we understood.
If you’ve ever attended a church, you might have found that the seasoned cooks on cooking committees mean business! This is true across denominational lines.
Knowing I wasn’t very skilled in the kitchen, the cooks at a church I attended didn’t ask me to help with food preparation too often. Imagine my surprise when one of the head cooks asked me to make pimento cheese sandwiches for our women’s group. They were having a speaker and expecting extra guests, so I thought they must be desperate. The head cook was smiling, however, probably assuming she had found a task I couldn’t mess up. I looked her in the eyes and gave her my life-learned head nod. Yes, I understand you.
Later that week I was at the grocery store, looking for pimento cheese. This would have been an easy task if I’d had any clue what pimento cheese actually was. I’d never had pimento cheese. I didn’t see it in the dairy section. I saw American, Swiss, provolone, and good ol’ cheddar, but no pimento cheese. It didn’t dawn on me to ask anyone for assistance; I was too preoccupied with not blowing this easy task. I wanted to prove to the cooks at church–and myself–that I could do this!
Finally, with only moments to spare, I found cans of pimento cheese next to the salsa in the potato chip aisle and took two home. Who knew making sandwiches could be so fun? Emptying both cans of cheese, I finished making fifty pimento cheese sandwiches in less than ten minutes flat! I decided to cut the crust off the bread with the extra time I had to spare. I showed up at the women’s group, head held high, platter in hand.
I thought I must have done a fabulous job, because the head cook was speechless. But then I sadly discovered the truth of the matter. I had made fifty pimento-flavored Cheez Whiz sandwiches, and the head cook was not happy.
Remembering this experience brings the following Scripture to mind: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6 KJV). In my case, I was almost destroyed by my lack of knowledge about pimento cheese!
This can happen when we try to share the gospel. We think we’re effectively communicating with nonbelievers. Unfortunately, many times we’re assuming they understand what we’re saying, but they don’t. In this day and age, we can’t afford to assume. We have to communicate what we know and believe about our Savior with sincere clarity. People not only want to know; they also want to understand.
So how can we as Christians be more effective in communicating with nonbelievers? I do this by asking God daily not to let me miss a moment when I can be transparent and available. This sometimes requires me to slow down when I’m in a hurry or to be open to taking a God-directed detour in my schedule that day. It means daily connecting my actions to what I say I believe. If we did more communicating with our actions and less with our words, I think nonbelievers and Christians alike could gain more understanding of the Word of God. Referring to gaining wisdom, the kind we need to witness to others, Proverbs 4:7 says, “With all thy getting get understanding” (KJV).
In the spirit of gaining understanding, we thought we’d share with you our favorite recipe for pimento cheese. If you’ve never had it before, don’t be shy. Make some, and serve it up with crackers or use it to make the best grilled cheese you’ve ever eaten. You won’t be sorry, we promise. (The graphic below is sized to fit on a 4×6 recipe card!)
Tasha Hart grew up in a small town that taught her to love people and the little things in life. Although born in Indiana, she has experienced life in various places. She is comfortable coloring outside the lines and frequently writes beyond the margins. Tasha blogs at tashartlife.com.