August 19, 2020

I was rushing into the store to pick up a few urgent items. As I scurried through the doors my phone rang and a quick glance told me that it was someone I had been playing phone tag with. I answered the call and unconsciously darted through the store aisles grabbing the items I needed and ultimately arrived at the check-out counter. The checker acknowledged my presence in her lane with what I am sure was an orthodox greeting though I never heard the words she said. In fact, I never even glanced her way. I was too engrossed in my phone conversation to concede that she even existed other than to trust she would check my items, allow me to instinctively swipe my card, and grant me the ability to walk out of the store proud of my multi-tasking proficiency. The agendas of my grocery list and my phone conversation had been accomplished with a “kill two birds with one stone” mentality. But perhaps I failed the most important agenda of the moment.

We all have agendas. A lot of times it’s our calendar agenda. Our schedules keep us rushing from one place to another without much margin for the impromptu conversations in life that can be so meaningful. Sometimes it’s our political agendas. Our opposing viewpoints often thwart the opportunities to pull up a chair and listen to someone else’s perspective. And other times it’s our personal agenda. Our intolerant loyalties keep us from engaging with those who see the world differently than we do.

The challenge to myself is to drop my agendas. I want to build the room into my schedule that allows me to put down the phone, look the checker in the eye, and listen to her as if she were the only person in the store. I want to yield to my dogmatic views allowing myself to truly listen to someone else without merely thinking of my next rebuttal in my head while they are talking. I want to surrender to the fact that I can have an engaging dialogue with someone who sees the world differently than I do without compromising my own beliefs and values. I want others to know how much I care before they care about how much I know. In short, I want to see, hear, and live with people the way Jesus did.

How about you?