Just For Today
A Daily Approach to Prayer and Scripture
Thursday, January 29
“He who answers before listening—that is his folly.”
Pr 18:13 NIV
WHAT KEEPS US FROM SERVING OTHERS? (1)
To serve others effectively, you must be attuned to what they need. What keeps us from doing that? Assumption. A lady in an airport lounge bought a packet of cookies and sat down to read the newspaper. She heard a rustling noise and looked up to see the man beside her helping himself to the cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took one herself, hoping he’d get the message. Then she heard more rustling. She couldn’t believe it. The man was helping himself to another cookie! There was only one left! She watched in disbelief as he broke the remaining cookie in two, pushed half across to her, popped the other half in his mouth, and left. She was still furious when her flight was announced. Imagine how she felt when she opened her handbag to get her ticket out—and found her unopened packet of cookies! Now be honest, didn’t you assume the stranger was helping himself to her cookies? Sure you did. And that tells you a lot about yourself! Too often we’re guilty of making assumptions about people. And once you put someone in a box it’s hard to think of them any other way, right? Every time a good tailor sees a client, he takes new measurements. He never assumes they’re the same size as they were the last time. That’s a good policy. Never make assumptions about someone’s background, profession, race, gender, age, nationality, politics, faith, or other factors. Once you do, you stop paying attention and miss clues that can help you to know what they really need.
Friday, January 30
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”
Ro 12:3 NIV
WHAT KEEPS US FROM SERVING OTHERS? (2)
Another thing that’ll keep you from serving others is arrogance. What others think and feel isn’t important to you. Arrogant people seldom meet people on common ground. They don’t believe they should have to, because by their own estimation they live on higher ground and shouldn’t have to descend to anyone else’s level. They expect others to come to them. Justice Louis D. Brandeis observed: “Nine-tenths of the serious controversies that arise in life result from misunderstanding, from one man not knowing the facts which to the other man seem important, or otherwise failing to appreciate his point of view.” There’s merit to the old Beatles’ song, “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends.” It’s ridiculous for anyone to think they have all the answers. Such people seem hopelessly out-of-date. Like the “Archie Bunkers” in life, they’re opinionated and narrow-minded. If you’re familiar with the old TV comedy series All in the Family, you know Archie expected everyone to meet on his terms. Friends and family alike were exposed to his insults. In one episode he told his wife, “Your problem is, Edith, I talk in English and you hear in Dingbat!” Lines like that may be good for a laugh on TV, but in reality they’re arrogant and hurtful. When your overriding goal is to build a case for your own viewpoint, people get turned off. To win them you must build a relationship. The letters in the word “silent” also form the word “listen.” Relationships are built by listening to people, loving them, learning from them, and leaving them better off than you found them.