"Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, 'What are you seeking?'" John 1:38 ESV
It may be cliche, but it's true. Everyone has a story filled with friends, foes, burdens, joys, dreams and disappointments. Everyone has a story, and God cares about them all. So much, in fact, He sent His only Son to take on flesh and die an excruciating death a mere 3 decades later—all for us. If God cared that much about us and our story, why do we spend so little time getting to know people and hearing their story?
This is something I contemplated last Advent season— the time of year where we dedicate a month to reflect on the greatest story ever told and the greatest storyteller of all.
Even though none of our stories compare with the King of Kings', they were all written by Him. Whether we admit it or not, our stories are so intertwined with His, they cannot be separated.
His story is ours and our story His. Not only that, but Jesus was the Master of asking people about their stories. Just look at any one of His encounters recorded in the New Testament.
Jesus was never one for water cooler talk. He purposefully sought people to ask them questions, hear their stories and point them to the Father. He never assumed or shortchanged someone based on their past and He never looked past a hurting soul. Can the same be said of you and me?
When was the last time you talked with someone? As in, you cared enough about them to stop what you were doing, invite the Holy Spirit into your conversation, ask genuine questions and listen, all simply because you wanted to hear their story.
Unfortunately for many of us, it's been a while, if ever. And even if we do have these conversations on occasion, do we invite the Holy Spirit to lead us? Whether we say we don't have time or we're not qualified to share the Gospel, we all have reasons for avoiding intentional conversations with people.
Not Jesus, the One with the greatest story ever and the greatest storyteller of all time. His mission was to talk with people, not to preach at them or pressure them into saying a prayer, but to connect with them and point them to the Father in exactly the way they needed to hear.
Recently I've talked with two people whose stories you would never guess just by looking at them. Both involved a great deal of pain, yet both pointed to God in their own ways. It was an honor to be trusted enough to hear their stories, but none of it would have happened had I not taken the time to listen.
Jesus was never one for water cooler talk. He purposefully sought people to ask them questions, hear their stories and point them to the Father.
Now I say this not to pat myself on the back (God knows how much I still need help in this department), but to encourage you. We all have a choice to make: waste time or make disciples. The former comes when we mimic the world and assume we know people's stories, and the latter when we follow Jesus' footsteps and see people as God sees them and desire to hear their story.
Which route will you take?
Young adults are hungry for relationships yet struggle to make them. Bridge the gap. Follow the Holy Spirit's guide and watch as He uses you to reach a searching, broken soul. Jesus said it is
far greater to give than receive. To whom can you give part of yourself this year?
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.