Hola, y'all. No, I'm not writing this from some exotic location where they speak Spanish. It might be nice to be vacationing in Madrid or Rio, but about the closest I usually get to such a place is eating lunch at Frontera.
The reason for my foreign language greeting -- and I'm talking about the first word, not the second one, unless you're not from the South -- is that I've been learning the Spanish language recently.
I took several years of Spanish when I was in high school, but never really achieved a fluent level. So after all these years, I'm quite rusty in speaking and understanding the language.
I've been wanting to refresh and improve upon those skills for years, especially seeing how it could be helpful to minister to the growing number of people in our country for whom Spanish is their native language.
So I'm finally taking the plunge. I'm using one of those well-known computer courses. It's going well so far, and I think I'm making good progress.
I've noticed one of the characteristics of this course is its use of repetition. It goes over and over vocabulary and grammar until it sinks in. I come upon a lesson and recognize it as one I've done two or three times before. But I discover by the third or fourth time how much easier it has become.
So the repetition seems to be very effective.
It made me think about how we sometimes assume we don't need to be exposed again to biblical events and truths that we've heard numerous times in the past. I've heard people declare, "I don't need to go to Sunday School -- I know all those stories."
But repetition can be helpful. We may have heard those truths, but have we let them sink in? Are we living in accordance with those biblical principles and commands?
As we hear them again, we might gain fresh insight into how they apply to some of the current problems and decisions we're facing.
I like the words of the old hymn which say, "I love to tell the story, for those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest."
We should never tire of the story of Jesus and His love. We should have the attitude expressed in another hymn: "Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life."
The other side of this issue is that some of us may be hesitant or fearful about being repetitious in sharing the gospel with others. We think we've got to come up with something new and innovative rather than simply reminding people of those timeworn truths.
The Apostle Paul didn't seem to have a problem with doing so. He saw the benefit in such repetition. He told the believers in the church at Philippi, "For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe" (Philippians 3:1).
While we share the same truths, it doesn't mean we always have to package them the same way. We can use different stories to illustrate those truths. We can simplify and modernize the language we use to communicate those principles.
But let's never be afraid of telling others too often the Good News about Jesus, His love, His dying on the cross for our sins, His resurrection, and the new life we can have by trusting Him and following Him.
The next time you do so, it may be the time that person finally listens. The next time you do so, it may be the time that person finally listens (repetition intended).
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.