My father was a masterful question asker. Amazingly, he didn't require much variety in his questions in order to draw out those around him. Each day he encouraged us to spend time reading God's Word. His encouragement was based on his experience of the heart-changing power of the Bible. At dinner I could always expect one simple question: "So what's God been teaching you in your Quiet Times?" He didn't doubt that if I was reading my Bible, then God would be teaching me something. Since I knew he'd be asking, it motivated me to read, attend to what I was reading, and be prepared to share with my father what I learned. It was never guilt that motivated me - only the love of my father.
As much as he liked to talk, he knew that he had to cultivate interest in his audience if he wanted anyone to listen to what he had to say. He would say:
"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. But you can salt it's oats."
He used this concept to develop what he called "salt topics." When he encountered someone who was struggling, and he knew that God's Word had the power to transform their struggles, he threw out good questions like:Since he became a believer as an adult, he had compassion on those who thought that God's Truth didn't have anything to do with their lives. He always wanted to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that he had (1 Peter 3:15). Every Bible he owned contained pages of these "salt topics" - conversation starters with verses to lead others to Truth. Not only did he use questions to cultivate my faith, but he utilized questions to strengthen everyone he encountered. Because he shared his faith with anyone he met, I observed his own faith lived out. It wasn't simply a Sunday morning faith. Eternal questions showed me what he cared about - eternal things, and greatly encouraged my faith.
I would do well to learn from my father:
- Inquire about my children's time reading God's word.
- Prepare myself to be ready to share God's truth.
- Ask questions that draw others to desire to hear from God's word.
You might also enjoy: How my Father Cultivated my Faith: Cultivating a Love of God’s Word