One day, Jesus was teaching and a large group of people had gathered around. It was one of the largest groups to listen to him to date, and even local religious leaders were there to hear what he had to say.
Toward the end of his sermon, Jesus asked a curious question. He said, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” To the people of that time, these questions would have made complete sense, and would have been taken as lighthearted, rhetorical questions. That’s because, locally, there was a kind of eel in the river that was a fish, but looked like a snake, and was completely inedible. If your son asked for a fish to eat, there’s no way you would give him some disgusting eel that you knew he couldn’t eat. You’d give him some fish. The people listening would have been laughing, yet puzzled.
So Jesus continued, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
The point that Jesus is making refers back to something he said earlier, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
What Jesus so eloquently demonstrated was a Rabbinical method of teaching called Kal v’homer which means, literally, “light and heavy.” It is used to prove a point by stating that if a small thing is true, how much more will a larger thing be true.
It is an extremely effective technique for teaching and debate, and one that is still used today. Business bloggers would do well to consider incorporating this technique into posts where the point is to persuade someone of something.
For instance, I might say to you, “If you had a new blog post, would you just print it and pin a copy on your local bulletin board? How much more reach will your blog posts achieve if you also share them to Facebook, where millions of users are posting and engaging daily?”
And Jesus used this method to help illustrate that words matter. He was teaching the people that in order to receive, they first have to ask. He was addressing the concern that many people have when praying, that their prayers won’t be answered. And like a father who provides his son fish, The Lord will listen to your prayers.
When we are teaching our clients in our blog posts, we have to be genuine and helpful. We have to provide the kind of information that our readers are asking for, and at the same time, we have to be clear about what it is we want (through a call to action). Words matter.
It’s been said that when Einstein was living in Princeton, he was once asked to give a series of lectures at various universities. Because he could not be relied on to get anywhere on time, he was given a car and a chauffeur. At each stop, the chauffeur would come in and help the professor get situated, and then stand in the back during the lecture. Well, after hearing the same lecture over and over again, the chauffeur thought he knew it by heart, and said so to Einstein. In response, Einstein said that since the chauffeur slightly resembled the professor, he could give the next lecture. And indeed, at the next school, the chauffeur stood in front, pretended to be Einstein, and delivered a flawless presentation. However, what neither of them anticipated was the Q & A afterwards. At the very first question, the chauffeur was stumped. But, rather than admit the charade, he pointed to Einstein in the back of the room and said, “that question is so easy, I’ll let my chauffeur answer it.”
Communicating is about more than just reciting some text. Words matter.
As a business, be prepared to engage your readers and potential clients, whether it is on social media, blog comments, or some other medium. What sets you apart from traditional advertising is that you are being open in the exchange of knowledge, and you recognize that it is a two-way street. Your blog and your social media posts are not television ads feeding the masses – they’re discussion-starters and thought-provokers. Be prepared to extend the conversation, and be prepared to explain the same points, in multiple ways, multiple times.
If you have questions about how these concepts apply to your blog and business, please feel free to use the comments below.