November 21, 2017
When I was a young teenager I had the good fortune of discovering a treasure-trove of a book on my parents’ bookshelf. I’m not exactly sure why I pulled it off the shelf and even less sure of why I read it, but of the fact that it changed my life I could not be more sure. The author of the book was Dale Carnegie, and you have already likely guessed the title, How To Win Friends and Influence People.
I remember a lot about the book, though one lesson stands out and towers above the rest. “Become genuinely interested in other people.” It’s what I hear when I read today’s text:
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders;
By “be wise” Paul doesn’t mean, “be on your guard.” No, he means let your guard down. He means, don’t be about yourself. Be about them. It begins with Carneige’s rule: “Become genuinely interested in other people.” Why? Beyond the first step of noticing people, becoming genuinely interested in them is the posture of love. It lets them know they are, in fact, interesting.
make the most of every opportunity.
What is the opportunity? I used to think the opportunity was to try and work in some way to share “the Gospel message” with them, which in retrospect looks more like trying to get people enlisted on my multi-level marketing discipleship pyramid scheme.
I think of the sharing the Gospel differently now. It’s more about the mystery than the messaging. As we have discussed, the message of the Gospel is the mystery of Christ, and the mystery of Christ is Christ in us. To the extent I am attuned to “Christ in me,” I can be present to the person sitting across from me. To the extent I can be present to them, Christ will presence himself with us and the mystery will become manifest. As I become genuinely interested in another person, Jesus manifests his interest in them.
The opportunities are everywhere. The overwhelming majority of people in the world, outsiders or not, are not listened to. No-one leans into them and listens with genuine interest. This is what supernatural love looks like in ordinary clothes.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
I think of becoming genuinely interested in other people like salting a conversation. It brings out the flavor in them. It necessarily means becoming less interested in myself (a.k.a. less self-interested). What is it about salt that makes food so much more satisfying? Maybe we need to think more about passing the salt as it relates to what is on their plate and not so much about our own.
Let’s call domino #4:6 the Salt-Shaker. It’s another small one with exponential impact potential, and it can be tipped almost anyway at any time.
Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who is the salt of the Earth and who would so fill us with himself that we might become the same. Fill me with the fullness of Christ in my bearing toward others that I might become genuinely interested in them and that my interest could become an act of your love. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
- When is the last time you experienced another person becoming genuinely interested in you? It can be rare.
- When is the last time you were intentional about becoming genuinely interested in another person– whom you didn’t know?
- Why is this so rare in the world? How will you change this today? tomorrow?
P.S. There’s still time to get a copy of RESET: Advent Devotions for the Whole Family in time for the start of Advent. Use the code FAMILY for the J.D. Walt loves me like family discount—because I do! ;0) TOMORROW WILL BE THE LAST DAY.
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.