What is one of the most valuable things you can give someone? In my Bible study, I noticed three things that corresponded with a servant leadership book. You don’t even have to be a leader to do this.
Two events that followed one another in Jesus’s life reflect how he dealt with interruptions and people. One day in a Galilean town, a man covered in sores threw himself at Jesus’s feet as he walked. Jesus reached out and touched the man.
According to Levitical law, that act made Jesus unclean (Leviticus 13). To prevent others from contracting the disease, lepers were required to stay out of cities. People would throw rocks at them to make sure they kept their distance. Jesus reached out and healed him.
Later, Jesus was in Capernaum —presumably teaching from Peter’s house— when some guys tore a hole in the roof. Then they dropped a paralytic through the hole in a makeshift stretcher. I asked my wife what her response would be.
She was speechless. Right in the middle of his teaching, he was interrupted. Was he angry? I know I would be a little irritated at least.
Not him. He changed his focus to the immediate need. He first forgave his sins because of the faith shown by the guy’s friends. Then to prove he had the authority to do that he told him to take a walk. That is what he did. Got on his feet, grabbed his stuff, and probably danced out.
I ask again, what is one of the most valuable things you can give someone? Thought about it? It is your time. The one thing you cannot get back. The common thread between these two events I noticed was that Jesus gave you his full attention.
The book I read is James A. Autry’s The Servant Leader. He lists the five “qualities of being” that a servant leader needs that we could all use:
- Be Authentic
- Be Vulnerable
- Be Accepting
- Be Present
- Be Useful
Jesus did all of these. He didn’t mince words. The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” He is a friend of sinners. He gave people his full attention. He helped others, even when they interrupted him. He gave them his time.
How well do we stack up compared to that? I think just starting one of these qualities would make an every-day difference. Try this one; give people your full attention.
I have to literally walk away or pocket any electronic device to do that. It’s hard. Try to stay off any games or social media for a day if you don’t believe me. We are so stuck on our phones these days it is a bit sad.
How can we be present with others? Do you have any ideas?