Interested in the People Right in Front of You
Being a people of love rather than a people of mission.
At Origins, we want your faith to drive you to be interested in the people right in front of you, inspired to explore others’ needs and engaged in serving your community. These words may seem simple enough, but practicing them is very countercultural. Through faith, we begin to understand a bigger picture and want to take part in it, but how we take part is very important. Far too often our faith drives us to treat people (unintendedly) like projects.
The progression of first being interested, then exploring and finally engaged is important. Sometimes we skip the first part because it’s messy, takes time and rarely gives us the tangible rewards we’re looking for. “After all,” we tell ourselves, “God doesn’t simply want me to love people and grow in relationship with them, he wants me to serve them, help them, change them.” But if we begin exploring answers and become engaged in solutions for others before growing in genuine interest for them, then we dehumanize them – we’re treating them like a project, not a person.
Starting with interest for the people right in front of you comes from several convictions. First, that God loves all people the same. He doesn’t love or prefer one person over another based on their needs, their status or their desire to love him back. Second, that God has you exactly where he wants you. He isn’t waiting on you to figure out when and where to best serve him – the where is here and the when is now. Third, that God is far more interested in us than he is in what we can do for him. He doesn’t need us, he wants us.
If we live like these convictions are true, then we will demonstrate a faith that’s focused on, content with and fueled by relationships with the people God has placed in our lives. We’ll treat each person with the same interest, fascination and delight as God has shown for us. We’ll be a people of love rather than a people of mission.
This week, make interest in the people right in front of you the rhythm of your life – the sort of thing you do frequently and on purpose. Be fascinated by the people whom God has placed in your life. Seek to know them better.
Our Interested, Exploring and Engaged assessment is a good starting point for not only gauging your level of interest, but also thinking about ways to grow in interest. Take a few minutes and try it now.
Here’s a tip on how to grow in interest from the assessment:
Make a list of all the people in your life that you can’t go a week without seeing (family, co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc.) and all of the people you don’t want to go a month without talking to (distant family, friends, mentors, etc.). Can you list the top goals, hopes, fears and passions for each person? Do you know the top challenge facing them this week?