How to End Conversations

Most fathers expend much effort to launch conversations with their kids — especially teenagers. But perhaps even more important than launching conversations is finishing them wisely and well.

You probably shouldn’t expect your son or daughter to punctuate every conversation by saying, “Thanks for your inspired wisdom and advice, Dad.” But neither do we want to berate them into submission so that their last words are muttered disdain: “Fine.” “You win.” “Whatever.” Even worse is the dreaded door slam.

Here’s a concept to hang on to. Endings — how you leave things — are important. At the end of every conversation, you want to be pulling your child toward you.  Not pushing them away.

With that in mind, let’s consider how God inspired Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to close off each of the gospels.

Matthew ends with a clear command, often referred to as “The Great Commission.”

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:19-20)

Mark takes those marching orders a step further, describing the actual actions performed by the disciples.

“After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”  (Mark 16:19-20)

Luke crams quite a bit of action into the last few verses of the gospel he penned. He describes a gathering, a blessing, some worship, and joyful praise.

“When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.  While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” (Luke 24:50-53)

John’s gospel ends with a bit of a mystery. It’s an open-ended invitation to imagine the life of Jesus. The fullness of what he did and who he was couldn’t be written down. It’s too big. Too magnificent.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  (John 21:25)

That’s four pretty solid choices when it comes to ending conversations.

Like Matthew, give specific instructions. Like Mark, begin doing something worth doing. Like Luke, bless your children by pointing them to God. Like John, give them something wonderful to think about, so they can make their own decisions long after you’re gone.

Your conversations matter, Dad. End them well. Years from now — for better or worse — your grown children will still hear your voice when making decisions, expressing love, and guiding their own children.

One Comment

  • Remember that you are more than conquers through Christ Jesus. He will always love you and so will I.
    I’m blessed that God gave me beautiful daughters and my family is filled with love. Your Faith and Hope in Christ will always be the right choice 🙏

    Reply

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