How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?

In June, our youngest son, Jeremy (age 41), was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma, or cancer of the blood. He’s spent most of his summer in hospitals. Hopefully he will be able to return to his wife and family in the near future.

Apart from numerous trips to the hospital, we have also been helping with childcare. Jeremy and Angela have three wonderful children ages five, three, and one. An observation I have made these past weeks is that it takes repeated reminders for our grandchildren to learn certain lessons.

For example, for me to tell them once that they should pick up their toys when they are finished playing with them would be about as effective as talking to the wall. It takes repeated reminders, plus showing them how to do what’s being asked of them. Finally, the older ones start to get the idea that this is something I really want them to do, and everyone will be happier once they get used to the idea.

This experience has reminded me of the truth that people of all ages usually need repeated reminders before they pick up on new habit patterns. Because that’s also true regarding spiritual matters, one sermon probably won’t help that much when it comes to matters such as dealing with troublesome temptations, learning spiritual disciplines or establishing Christ-like relationships.

Because a minister preached on a given subject six months ago doesn’t mean that a review wouldn’t be in order. Repetition … repetition … repetition … that’s what’s required before most lessons are learned. And even if a given subject has been mastered, people generally like it when, every so often, they feel like they have gotten a bit ahead of the game.

Question: How many times do I have to tell people?

Answer: Way more than a few times every now and then!


Please click here to visit David Mains’ website.

You will also find a variety of resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries website. Please click here.

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