Seldom Found? Listen.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. (Philippians 2:1-2, The Message)

These verses are some of my favorites. I love that they show how highly God esteems earthly relationships. They also reveal how my life with Jesus and and the Spirit has the potential to impact those relationships; I can “have a heart and care” and become deeply connected to others.

But how? How to agree? How to love? How to become deep-spirited friends?

I would offer this: by listening.

Can you describe a time when someone listened to you? Asked meaningful questions…then listened…and because they listened, were able to ask more? If so, what was the result?

I recently asked this question of a group of women, and one woman, in her fifties, responded with this memory:

“I was 18 years old and a couple invited me over for dinner. They asked me questions about my life as a freshman at college. They wanted to know if I had a boyfriend. They asked questions about my career goals. They had no agenda of their own, it seemed, they just listened well and asked relevant questions. I left their house that evening feeling loved and special. I remember wishing that I could return for more.”

What an amazing testimony to the power of listening! This experience was well over 30 years ago, yet it came to the forefront of this woman’s mind as a powerful example of listening.

Then I had to ask her: “Have you experienced this kind of conversation since?”

Sadly, she said, “No, this one conversation continues to stand out in my mind as one of the best evenings I’ve ever had.”

Hmmm. So. Again:

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. (Philippians 2:1-2, The Message)

What have you gotten out of following Christ?
Has His love made a difference in your life?
Does being in a community of the Spirit mean anything to you?
Do you have a heart?
Do you care?
Have you done anyone a favor and agreed with them?
How have you loved someone and become deep-spirited friends?

This woman’s story challenges and motivates me! Because of what God has done for me and who I follow, I can DO this! And so can you. No one needs to wait 30 years. By asking questions and listening well, you and I have so much to offer the people all around us. Join me and be part of the beautiful process of creating seldom found, deep-spirited friendships.

Susan Burbank
Q Place NW Regional Director.

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