by Andrew Cromwell
Relationships take work. Whether it is your relationship with your spouse, your kids, your friends or your co-workers, real relationships take time, energy and effort (and if you're married, money!). All relationships require a decision from us to slow down and turn our attention to another person—when we do this we "engage".
People that engage with others are people that make a difference in this world. To engage means that you put your focus on someone other than yourself and you seek to add value to their life. It might simply be a word of encouragement, a helping hand or even just a listening ear. But these things take time and a willingness to put the other person first.
A very successful artist once ran into a former teacher who, years before had made a significant contribution to the artist's education. The artist took the opportunity to thank the teacher for all they had given. The teacher was pleasantly surprised and told the student, "Thank you, you just made my day." The artist paused for a moment and, wanting the teacher to understand the depth of her appreciation, said, "No, thank you, you made my life."
You don't make someone's life unless you are willing to engage them right now, right where they are at. A little effort to engage in the lives of others in a healthy, encouraging way can have lasting effects that we will probably never know. Only our Father in heaven understands the significance of a dad taking the time to get down on the ground and wrestle with his son. Or, how much impact taking the time to teach someone an important business or life skill might have on their future. Your little effort might make the difference.
Far too often are we too self-obsessed to take the time to engage with others. All we can see is our problems, our situation and our struggles. We become the center of our personal universe where other people become pawns that we can manipulate to get what we want. We stop seeing them as valuable and start seeing them as nuisances.
It is amazing how small our problems get when we begin to engage in the problems of other people. Suddenly we recognize that it may not be as bad as we thought. The truth is, being spiritual is not sitting in the lotus position and clearing your mind. It is not "finding your inner self." True spirituality is when we begin to enter into the lives of others and allow God's love to flow through us to them. When was the last time you got spiritual?
This weekend the pastors of Kings County would love to have the opportunity to encourage you and your family. Why don't you get in church and get filled up so that you can give some out to those around you?