by Dan Weyerhaeuser, Senior Pastor
“You are one of the only two people in the world I feel like I can bear my soul to.”
Just a few weeks ago, a neighbor shared these words with me. This week I sat in a booth in a nearby restaurant and a server who has become a friend sat down at my table and said, “There you are! A lot has happened in the last two weeks since I’ve seen you.” My friend then shared two important updates on things happening in her life. As she got up to leave, she said, “You strengthen and assure me.” I said, “Thank you. I think it is Jesus in me who you are experiencing.” She agreed. (Still trying to get her to Lakeland for Easter).
I share these two recent stories because it seems trust has been established with two people far from God and their Christian friend. I left both experiences realizing that a bond has been established over time. I care for both of my friends. But I realized that my love for them was expressed in living our the R.E.A.D. strategy for communication.
Both friends are people I try to pray for every day. And I see them occasionally (though I wouldn’t say frequently). But over time, I’ve tried to “r.e.a.d.” them, and through this a bridge of trust has been built, a bridge that they both crossed back to me when big things were happening in their lives.
Here’s the best part… r.e.a.d.ing people is easy to do. In fact the more you do it, the more it becomes “native.” But it’s within the grasp of anyone who genuinely wants to love people and be a source of good in their lives, especially as ambassadors for Christ.
Next week, I’ll start unpacking the strategy one step at a time. But I have to begin by asking, do you want to be a source of healing and good to the people you encounter? Do you want to leave a wake of good behind you? This is what God made us to be as His representatives in the world. This is what He designed you to be. He has made you uniquely as a carrier of His goodness and grace. He has placed you in the optimal place in all of the world and in all of history to reach people who need HIm. But the first question is, do you want this?
In this moment, ask God to use you to be a source of good for the people you encounter today. Ask Him to help you see people, really see them, as you go through your day today. Instead of using people to get things done, consider that the things you are doing with people today are a way to “get them done.” Ask God to help you think this way.
Then go watching for what He will do.