As the dogs and I were walking along, I noticed that Marci was walking differently. I picked her up and found something on the bottom of her foot that I quickly removed.
Observation – paying attention – requires us to be intentional. It is necessary to be intentional to understand the needs of the people around you. In this busy world, we often don’t listen when someone is talking with us, because we are trying to contemplate the best answer to the conversation or even thinking about the next task we must accomplish, looking beyond the current interaction. Many times, we are so stuck on ourselves and our goal is to be heard instead of to listen. Also, we are rarely present in the moment, and yet this presence is what is needed to show love and compassion to others. Time is precious, and how you use time is a choice. Do you choose to run around on empty and allow the situations around you to dictate your actions? Do you attempt to be in the moment wherever you are at, being at attention, and calmly following the leading of your Father?
Notice that Jesus was always intentional—always present – and able to understand the needs of those around Him. He spent much time in prayer. He spent much time interacting with people, whereby He invested in their lives, actively listening and engaging in conversation. Conversation, such a lost art today.
Today, be mindful of what is happening around you. Wherever you go, be there. Slow down. Listen for His still small voice. Invest in those before you. Enjoy the people God has put before you, and ask God how you can bless them today to bring Him glory.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” – James 1:19 [ESV]
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3 [NIV]
One of the hardest things is not being so stuck on myself. From the moment we begin life, we are all about self. We look out for ourselves. We want to be fed. We want to be rested. We want to be comfortable. When we learn to talk, we share about ourselves. Self. Self. Self.
When we have conversations, we go from our youthful days of asking questions and trying to learn to enjoying conversations where we talk about our day, our thoughts, our life. We don’t ask questions so much. We don’t fully listen in conversations. Instead we dominate the conversation and only listen to respond.
The Bible tells us to take an interest in others and to want the best for them. This starts with getting to know the heart of a person. Spend time with the person. Listen to them. Build a relationship. Invest in the person. Get to know about the person and be a part of their life. Relationship building is intentional. As you read the Gospel, you will note that Jesus took interest in people. He invested in people. He didn’t look out for His own interests. He sought out the very best for others, all while walking in faithful obedience to the Father. Today, take an interest. Invest. Love others.
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” – Philippians 2:4 [NLT]
Harmony is difficult. When it comes to music, each person must be in sync for there to be true harmony. When it is done right, there will be a sound pleasing to ears. When it comes to people, harmony means that we live with a peace, that we understand each other. This understanding is like an agreement and it requires integrity, humility, and respect of others.
Roman 12 mentions this pride that gets in the way of enjoying others. Some people get too puffed up to hang out or associate with certain people. This person may look down on others who don’t match up with their self-righteous standards. Thus, being around “ordinary people” is dreaded. The passage then warns not to consider yourself a know-it-all, because once again you’ll be puffed up. You’ll have this desire to make everyone see that you are right, even if it means hurting another.
We are to live in peace with everyone. We are to be peacekeepers. Jesus was always right, but He was also always humble. It was never about being right. Remember, harmony requires humility. Don’t worry about getting in the last word. Listen more. Speak less, and speak life when speaking. Take the time to invest in everyone, even the ordinary. God came among the ordinary. He loves the ordinary. You just may find that the company of the ordinary is a great blessing. Do all you can to try to live in peace with everyone. Harmonious living is the unity that Jesus desired for His bride.
“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:16, 18 [NLT]