I am working my way through the book “Gospel” by J.D. Greear and I’m really enjoying it. Sure it’s a topic I think I know a few things about and one I talk about often, but that hasn’t stopped me from a learning a ton! I not only appreciate what J.D. shares but also the way in which he shares it. This is probably one of those books that most, if not all Christians should read because the Gospel is so central to who we are and how we live. I highly recommend picking it up and giving it a read.
Last weekend I spoke on a key aspect of Jesus’ life and leadership. It also is, I believe, the key aspect of effective community and relationships. It’s the quality of “service”. But as I’ve thought about what service really is, I used to think it was about “doing” something for someone else. While I do still think that’s true I don’t think it’s full or deep enough of a definition.
Service is any time I put aside myself for the sake of others. And so when I “do” something, I am putting aside what I could do or even want to do to help someone. However, when you think of service as putting aside yourself it opens up many more opportunities to truly serve. For example, I can serve by talking about myself less in conversation and learning to ask more questions and listen to the answers. I can serve by reaching out and saying hello to someone I don’t know, because my default (self) would be to talk with people I already know and like.
How do we know when communication has happened? The word “communication” comes from the root for the word “common” which means if we don’t have a common understanding of the subject then communication hasn’t taken place. I’ve noticed whether it’s in the church world, marriage, family interaction, workplace dialogue, or really any form of relationship that a lot of angst and frustration comes because people assume communication has happened when it was just one person sharing from their perspective. In fact you could probably review most of the popular sitcoms on TV and discover that most of the “humor” begins when one person assumes he/she has communicated or is afraid to fully communicate and therefore the poor communication results in a mess that can be funny. When it happens in real life, it’s not so funny.