Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.
The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
Alexander Graham Bell is credited with having said those words. Born on March 3, 1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland, both his mother and eventually his wife, were deaf. As a result, much of his life was spent researching hearing and speech.
This research then progressed into experimentation with hearing devices and sound transmission. One culmination of these efforts, the one for which Mr. Bell is well-known, is the telephone.
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His initial efforts focused on work to ameliorate the telegraph. A thorough understanding of the nature of sound (from his work with the deaf) plus an aptitude for music gave him the idea that perhaps multiple messages could be sent simultaneously over the same telegraph line, and then, he began to wonder how sound could be converted to electrical impulses.
On March 10, 1876, the first successful telephone transmission occurred. Using a liquid transmitter, Bell spoke into a mouthpiece, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you." In another room, Watson heard each word distinctly through a receiver. The impracticality of a liquid transmitter eventually led to the development of one constructed using electromagnets.
Some consider Bell to have been a brilliant communicator.
His invention certainly changed the world as it was then known, connecting people, enabling real time communication even when long distances separated, encouraged growth of businesses and, in general facilitated communication.
It is, in some ways, a loaded word. Very broadly and simply, communication is nothing more than the transfer of information from one place to another. Where it gets tricky is the when, the why, the where, the who and the how it gets done. And while the possibilities probably aren't infinite, they are numerous with lots of "connections" where information can disappear, be deformed or destroyed, delayed, devalued or, thankfully, properly distributed.
As missionaries, we are concerned about communication:
- with family near and far,
- with our local partners as well as those supporting us back in our sending organizations,
- with friends,
- with colleagues,
- with neighbors,
- with government officials,
- with businesses...
We communicate verbally and non-verbally, orally and in writing... even our sometimes lack of communication communicates. There are times when the intent of the message we wish to share is not perceived or received and people end up hurt, or angry, or worse.
Our communication needs to be genuine and authentic, kind, truthful and intentional... not just the words that come out of our mouths and the words that we write, but the expressions on our face, our body language and the choices we make. Our communication, in every way and in every aspect, needs to reflect the One we say we strive to reflect.
Consider these words:
"Night after night [the heavens] communicate knowledge..." (Ps 19.2, HCSB)
"'Because I am the LORD, I'll speak and the message that I communicate will be accomplished without delay. While you continue to be a rebellious house, I'll speak the message and then fulfill it,' declares the Lord GOD." (Ez 12.25, ISV)
"But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." (Gal 6.6, ASV)
Charge those that are rich in this world, that they not be high minded, not placing their hope in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy; but charge them to do good, that they be rich in good works, liberal to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the future, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Tim 6.17-19, JB2000)
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Heb 13.16, ASV)
I've always happily considered "doing good" a sacrifice that God finds pleasing. I've never, ever considered communicating to be one as well.
In honor of the anniversary Alexander Graham Bell's birthday as well as the anniversary of the first successful phone transmission - both of which occurred in March - this month's focus here at Missionary Mom's Companion will be communication! I, for one, am looking forward to hear what others have to say!
As we share our thoughts on this topic, we'd love if you'd communicate back with us!
Comment and let us know what you are thinking or your response to what has been shared!