I have this thing where I spend 16 minutes with a heavily accented person and suddenly I have a new dialect. I drop the R in hair faster than you can say Boston, and you each become ya’ll in less than a day. Out of nowhere I’ve got a shrimp on the barbie (is this even how you spell it?) and I’m changing my kid’s nappy (this is especially weird because no one in my house wears diapers). I can catch myself most days, but the truth is what we hear starts to become our normal. And that normal comes right out of our mouths before we realize what is happening.
This is why it is so vital to be ready for your day. I don’t mean cute clothes and a solid coffee. Truth be told these add a level of joy to a day you can’t match in funds, but I mean Scripture.
We need to spend some time settling into the words in the Bible. Grab on like it’s a fresh cup of joe and our hands are stiff with cold. You know that stance? Where you shrug your shoulders up, take a deep breath as the steam from your coffee wraps around you like the best homemade quilt?
That’s how Jesus wants to talk to us. And then this is how he wants us to talk to everyone else. Like they matter. Like what they are saying can’t wait. As if we truly care about them and our heart is that when we finish this face-to-face interaction, no matter how mundane the topic, they leave us a little changed and a little more loved.
I run into this guy now and then at my neighborhood grocery. I’ve worked with him in the past, but we do not really know each other more than asking about the family. He’s retired now, and though he has a wife and kids he is always alone. Always. Even the one time I saw him with his wife.
It’s easy for me to say hi and keep doing the talk and walk thing. Know what I mean?
If you stop and talk to people you don’t know well an awkward silence is guaranteed to follow. I am pretty good at saying hello to people I sort of know in public. My husband thinks it’s a punishment, and he is probably right in thinking neither party really wants to participate in that dreaded awkward interaction, so he runs (sometimes literally) the other direction. #introvertsunite And I totally get it.
But this guy from the grocery. He’s missing what I’ve got, and I don’t mean witty grocery store banter and the ability to end the conversation a millisecond before the awkward. I mean those words I read (or should have read) previous to this day starting. Did I read something encouraging or is there a verse sticking with me? Maybe God spoke words to me that aren’t for me at all. Maybe they are actually for this grocery store guy. Why am I being so selfish with them? And what if I opted to be too busy to read any of it or have my own face-to-face with God, so I have nothing to offer? It feels like a travesty. It feels like I’ve screwed up the only job I truly have on this earth.
What if we went into every situation-grocery store, ministry, a walk in the park, the gym, our work, our classes, our dinner table- with the idea that we are going to leave that place making at least one person feel more loved? As if they were more important than anything else including ourselves and our desire to shuffle past the inevitable awkward? How would their hearts change? How would mine?
John 7:38-39 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)