There are four of us (Kim, Kristi, Rebecca, and me) who travel together once a month to share messages of encouragement to ladies in drug rehab. Each of us has our own unique style and a wide variety of life experiences to pull from. Even though our messages are quite different, we’ve all noticed the same frustration in preparing them. We fill our heads with so much information that trying to narrow our topic to just one core message becomes completely overwhelming. We suffer from the Curse of Knowledge.
In Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, they report the results of an experiment that concretely explains this curse. In 1990, a group of people was divided into two groups – the tappers and the listeners. The tappers’ job was to tap out a simple song from a list of 25 familiar tunes like Happy Birthday to You and The Star-Spangled Banner. The listeners’ job was to identify the tune. (You’ve probably played this game too.)
Astoundingly, before tapping out the songs, the tappers predicted the listeners would get 50% of the songs correct. Wrong! In reality, the listeners were correct only 2.5% of the time. Why such a discrepancy? The tappers could hear the song playing in their heads. All the listeners could hear was a bunch of disconnected taps on a tabletop.
Because of the Curse of Knowledge, I used to keep a running list of things I needed to do to prove my love for Jesus. Sadly, those actions came across as senseless tapping. However, by listening to Jesus’ sweet song of grace and freedom, I’m convinced that it’s Jesus’ love for us that motivates us to love others – even those who don’t love us. Emotions give us reason to care. Caring offers others the opportunity to hear the song Jesus is singing over us.
What about you? What knowledge clutters your ability to express the simple message of God’s saving grace? Are you tapping out so many do’s and don’t’s that the Gospel’s core message can’t find its way to your listeners? Let God place a new song in your heart – then belt it out! Tell your story. Show your joy. Express your love.
I love how Nehemiah 12 paints a picture of pure celebration at the dedication of Jerusalem’s new wall. “The Levites were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. [Nehemiah] also assigned two large choirs to give thanks… Ezra the teacher of the Law led the procession.”
And here’s the best part!
“And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.”
If these people could tap out the joy of the Lord in a way listeners recognized, how much more should we, who have Jesus as our Savior, be enthusiastic in sharing our song of joy! Our song should be clutter free so that everyone recognizes the reason for our song!
Think of a person you know who needs to hear the song you’re listening to.
No, really. Think of a specific person.
Okay, I’ll do it too.
Now, let’s go share our headphones! 🙂