It’s no accident when a smile blossoms into conversation, later segueing into deepening layers of friendship. It happens on purpose, the way a flower responds to the sun’s attention. We are drawn in by kindness. By sincerity. By an attentive listener.
I often don’t know what to say initially to someone who is confiding in me, but I am learning to listen more deeply. It’s easy to talk; it’s hard to listen. Talking is often a Pavlovian response to our need to control situations. Listening deeply on purpose is the act of giving oneself to the privilege of growing in understanding another person in her context, not our assumptions. It’s intentional. It’s the basis of mission. It lays the groundwork for sharing the gospel on fertile soil.
Make no mistake, talking is important in its appropriate context, but not nearly as often, and definitely not with the typical strident tones displayed in the public religious/political square.
This is not to say its necessary to become confidants with people before you can share with them the good news of Jesus Christ. I am suggesting taking a long term perspective of relationship building, rather than strictly relying on driveby soundbites which more often come off as cowardly and arrogant, rather than loving.
It’s not easy. It takes time. It happens purpose. It’s far easier than you may think. Ask yourself, who do you come into contact with on a regular basis, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly…?
For me, I think about the trains and buses I ride, my walking routes, the grocery stores, gas stations, local businesses I frequent, parks, hiking trails, my apartment complex, and yes, even my church. You read that correctly, some lost people attend church and need to hear and understand the gospel, too.
So what about you? What’s your list of opportunities to be salt and light in your world?
Now go, be witnesses for Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit with go before and with you opening up opportunities and giving you wisdom to listen deeply, and when the time is right, to share clearly and persuasively the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’m praying for you.
Break camp and advance…