Jerry Finch

By the word 'content' we mean the noun and not the verb. The noun 'content' with the meaning of ingredient or what's inside something, or what the content is.

Content is very important in life. This message may start out a little secular in nature, but bear with me and you will see that what we are saying has a very spiritual side as we move on.

Without Content everything is an empty hole. I once became aware of 'content' (what's inside) in a strange way when I lived in China.

 

The word 'content' in China is also a very important word and is written nei rong in pinyin or 内容 in Chinese.

In China when people make speeches, like politicians or important business people etc, the content of what they say is vital and when the 'leader' speaks, everyone is expected to listen to the 'content' and not anything else. This principle is similar to the west yet at the same time also very different.

Because in many western and other countries they pad their content with things like 'body language'. Body language in the West, while speaking in public, or delivering the news (or even the weather!) is considered very necessary. There are even courses in what body language to use when you narrate a documentary, read the news or speak publicly. However I was surprised and shocked that all this is considered virtually useless to the Chinese who focus almost exclusively on the 'content'!

How fascinating! They are brought up to value what is inside, and not the padding.

Some years ago I was invited to give a few minute speech in Mandarin at the annual conference of a large construction company in southern China. (I had helped them design their international brochure and polished their translations into English previously.)

Since this was the first time for me to do any public speaking in China, I was understandably nervous. I practiced my little speech and had it all ready. In fact, as I was a foreign distinguished guest, I was one of the last to speak. My wife had brought our video camera to record the whole bash which lasted almost two hours.

Finally I got up to speak and gave my spiel in the best Mandarin I could muster, reassuring all present what a great company this truly was and endorsing its products as trustworthy and reliable. Warm applause and probably a few hidden silent titters were my reward and I sat down relieved that all had gone well, or so it seemed.

When we got home, we looked at the video recording and noticed that while all the other 10-15 speakers stood almost completely still on the platform facing the 200 strong audience and delivered their 'content' in a near impassive manner, and with no body language for the most part, I on the other hand gesticulated with my arms and hands in a seeming unending torrent of western cultural nonsense!

How even more shocking this seemed and when we put the video on fast forward it was even more comical -- or should I say disturbing! What I thought was normal or an acceptable way of speaking was totally missing the point here in the Middle Kingdom.

I had learned the hard way. What I had not previously realised was that body language, gesticulations and the like are barely used in public speaking in China.

Perhaps this is slowly changing as the new Chinese generations who are exposed to and visiting the West bring some of the viruses like body language in public speaking back to China, but still this remains the way to go in society here.

Since that time I have paid close attention to whenever someone in China speaks in a major meeting or the government personnel delivers something to the nation. It is the content, just the content and only the content that matters!

Isn’t that interesting that the Chinese have got it right really? In their eternal pragmatism why bother with all the padding, packaging and stuff that has no real value to them? Listen to what they have to say! Listen to the message and only the message and all will be well, or terrible, (depending on the message!).

But at least you will have absorbed the content! You should also, in some cases, equally listen to what is not being said, as this in its own strange way is a part of the speech's content! I think this is a wonderful lesson for the rest of the world, at least those parts who still place s uch an emphasis on the packaging!

And what does all this mean to us as Christians, or people who love Jesus and want to build His Kingdom? Well it has tremendous meaning -- do more with less, think 'content', believe that the Word of God will do the job, because 'life is in the seed and not the sower'. When the Sower went forth to sow the seed, the only body language he used was his arm throwing the seed!

He didn’t do anything else; he left the seed on the ground and the soil, some of which was receptive helped produce the content that God had planned for it: new fruit, new wheat and new crops and new Christians.

The Word of God is all the content you need. Give them the Word of God, don’t worry about anything else. Don’t worry if you are not flashy, fancy, cool, young enough, old enough, handsome enough, beautiful enough, well spoken enough, have the right clothes the right training, the right education, the right connections. Throw all that away and focus on the 'Content’!

Content content content! Everything else is the work of the flesh, the vanity of man and a waste of your's and God's time. If we would only focus more in the content, the Word of God the power of prayer, praises to God with our hearts and the Word, we would see more revolutions for Christ across the earth!

Moses thought he couldn’t speak it, Jeremiah thought he was too young, Gideon thought he was the youngest and poorest in both the land and in his family. Joseph was the youngest, and David was not even considered in the selection process presented to prophet Samuel by his father.

Saul (Paul) was the worst person imaginable to be an apostle and so the list goes on and on and even further on through church history.

So God knows who is able as long as they focus on the ..... Content. Got it? So the same is true for everyone today. You just need to believe the content.

Believe the Word of God and do everything you can to promote the Word of God. Don’t know how to speak to people? Read the Word of God. Don’t know how to pray? Read the Word and let the Holy Spirit inspire to you to pray in His Name. Don’t know why your pastor is so useless?  Listen more to the content and get your eyes off the man. Don’t know why you are not growing in the Lord? Focus on the promise of God and think about the content. Read one verse, focus on its content like never before and I guarantee you will see riches you have never dreamed possible because the Word of God is alive and well able to do exceeding abundantly above all you ask or think according to the power that works in us. In us, in us, in us! What’s in us? What’s inside? It’s the content!!!!

Jesus is in our hearts, HE is the content, and the invisible God is in us, Christ in you, the hope of glory, (Col 1:27) the invisible power of God which raised Christ from the dead shall so quicken (make alive) your bodies to inherit eternal life. Do you believe it? You should because that's the content! Amen?