He answered them, “I will also ask you a question. …” Luke 20:3
As I walked into a ballroom to speak at a weekend conference, I overheard a husband ask his wife, “How far in do you want to go?”
I chuckled and said to the man, “That’s really the question, isn’t it?”
This same question persists whether you’re going into the river, a romance or a business venture. Likewise, whether you’re contemplating involvement in a church or a new ministry, or whether it’s simply a matter of following Jesus, sooner or later, you have to answer the question, “How far in do I want to go?”
We work hard to avoid some questions, because we don’t want to face the answer. Other questions, we feel foolish for not knowing the answer. Sometimes we ask questions and don’t really listen to the answer.
You’ve probably been greeted with the question, “How are you doing?”
If you know cultural norms, you understand the proper and polite answer to this question is, “Fine.”
Usually, when people say, “How ya’ doin’,” they really don’t want to hear about how you’re doing, especially if it involves anything negative.
This is why in most contexts we seldom make eye contact and walk by briskly, and when we do ask the question, we do not intend to listen for an answer. We breeze through life asking some questions we don’t want answered honestly.
Some of us are “put off” when people give an honest answer. We learn early not to ask such questions of those people again. This is a sad reality, but isn’t it true?
When I was a boy, my older siblings often teased my parents about their predictable answers to the question, “How are you doing?” They said Dad’s tombstone would read, “I told you I was sick,” and Mom’s would read, “Really, I’m fine.”
Although we didn’t put it on Dad’s tombstone, it turns out that it was somewhat true. Dad died at eighty-seven, only days after mother allowed him to stop taking his “daily constitutional” walk. Mom died at ninety-nine and the last time we asked her the question, she gave the expected response, “I’m fine.”
When I was a child, there were certain questions I loved. I particularly liked it when one of my parents asked, “What would you like to do today?” I loved that question, though I think I only heard it maybe two or three times in childhood.
On my birthday Mom would ask, “What would you like for dinner?” I loved that question. I love to eat. I’ve always had opinions on the subjects of breakfast, lunch and supper. Therefore, I always had a ready answer to that question.
I also loved it when I was eating at someone else’s house and the hostess asked, “Would you like some more?”
Those were wonderful questions, but there were other questions I didn’t like.
You may remember hearing these questions from your childhood. They were asked rhetorically, so though no answer was expected or allowed, these questions struck fear in the heart:
Who do you think you are? – Where do you think you’re going? – What do you think you’re doing?
I hated those questions, because I knew the question meant that I was already in trouble. No answer would suffice. Any answer my childish mind might concoct would most certainly be the wrong answer.
As I got older, I learned that these questions are brilliant. Your own answers to these questions may not necessarily be true, but I can guarantee you this: What you believe about who you are has an enormous impact on everything else in your life. What you believe about yourself affects all of your relationships. It affects the most important relationship in your life — your relationship with God.
Because these three questions are essential, over the next few posts, let’s look at each one and find the answers in God’s Word, the Bible.