It's Risky

translator-1It makes me nervous. I don't like it but I don't have a choice. If I'm going to communicate with a roomful of people overseas, I have to entrust my thoughts and words to an interpreter.

It's risky. So much could go wrong.

What if his language skills are limited and he can't grasp the subtle shades of meaning in my carefully chosen words?

What if she has no sense of humor or speaks in a monotone and everyone thinks I'm the one who is boring?

What if he's working so hard to translate my words literally that he's too busy to listen to my heart?

What if she has her own agenda and uses my platform to advance her personal ideas?

Who needs jet lag? These questions are enough to keep me up all night!

As I write this, I'm sitting in an aisle seat on KLM 9462. We're somewhere between Kiev and Amsterdam, and I'm thinking unusually deep thoughts.

For starters, I'm full of gratitude for Andre and Anya, my two translators who all week helped me share the new Crucible materials with hundreds of pastors and church leaders from all over Ukraine. To say I couldn't have done it without them would be a massive understatement.

But there's something else running through my mind. An insight I've glimpsed before but never really explored. So welcome to my high-altitude stream of consciousness.

If I'm reluctant to entrust my words to another human—who is almost always my intellectual superior—why would God choose to entrust His words to me?

He's infinite, and therefore has limitless options. But He consistently chooses to communicate His thoughts, plans, and character through through flawed humans like me.

Ich bin ein translator. I am a translator.

There's no sense bothering to speculate about His reasons, but it is productive to think about the implications.

plane-1If I'm responsible to build a bridge from His heart to our world, I better recommit myself to learn as much as I can about both.

I should remind myself regularly that teaching His word is a calling, and not just a job.

I certainly need to guard my heart to avoid using His words to advance my personal agenda.

And I better make sure my style and energy level reflect His creativity and passion to connect with those He'll do anything to reach.

It's risky. But it's a risk He chooses to take. Of all the methods He could pick, He chooses to pour His glorious truth into ordinary clay pots like me.

So maybe I'll worry less about how well someone else is going to translate my words, and focus more on how well I'm translating His.

So what about you? How about sharing your thoughts about our role as His translators.

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