Timing The Punch Line

(This post was written by Evan Crass, Associate Pastor of Groups)

As our group was shooting the breeze, we landed on the topic of “dad jokes”. You know the ones like …

Child: “Dad, I’m hungry.”
Dad: “Nice to meet you, Hungry. I’m Jack.”

What makes these jokes so bad is the timing is horrendous. And timing is critical, not only to a well-placed joke, but also for a revealing question.

Our discussion turned towards the first half of 2011. With six months behind us, the timing was ripe for a recap. Each of us, on a scale of 1 to 10, ranked our impressions of 2011 and how it has impacted us. The trip down memory lane afforded each of us an opportunity to remember the highs and lows, the successes and failures, and dreams achieved and shattered.

It was sobering.

Milestones included a new job, the achievement of a financial goal, and kicking a smoking habit. But what was mentioned most often focused on relationships. And it set the stage for the next question.

An interesting phenomenon happens when I’m asked a question. I must choose between answering with complete openness and honesty or answering with only part of the story. My choice to answer openly and honestly comes when I trust the asker of the question and the timing is right. After we had completed our mid-year review, the timing was right for the next question.

What is a current obstacle or unmet desire in your life?

I was amazed to hear my friends share their hearts. Although I knew many of their stories, in most cases I learned of desires that had never been voiced before – desires for marriage or a baby or a renewed friendship.

The trust in our group had been built over weeks and months, but it was the timing of this question that released each of us to share. When do you need to ask a well-placed question?