A friend shared a quote that both intrigued and inspired me: The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal his own.” Benjamin Disraeli
It’s far easier to share our riches of understanding, experience and resources than it is to help another discover who they really are and what God has already given them. We can only help someone in this deeper way by focusing on their story, desires and journey as we listen carefully to the voice of their heart and the voice of God.
It seems that our culture (church and world) is predisposed is to advise rather than advocate, to declare rather then dig. It works, at a surface level, because people want quick answers and love to give advise.
We look for what is true in a situation and formulate an answer. But, as we know, what is true in a moment is rarely the truth about the moment or situation or person. Scripture says,
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:16, 17 NIV)
I recite the first part of this verse every morning and evening – “so from now on”. It’s the second part of this verse that I keep forgetting – “regarding no one from a worldly point of view”. I sincerely want to view others (and myself) as a new creation and not simply understand them by the reactions of their “being-renewed” heart (Eph.4:23) to pain, fear, shame and sin.
Jesus, the one who created and recreates us, is the only one who can rightly define us, so it is to Him we must listen. An acquaintance of mine was asked how he gets such powerful words for people, to which he responded:
When I meet with a person I ask Jesus
- What have you deposited in this person that you want me to call out?
- What have you spoken to this person that you want me to confirm?
- What has this person experienced that you want me to comfort?
These prayerful questions cause us to see a person as both a new creation and one who is being transformed into a new creation.
At a recent Base Camp Gathering, an event for those who have gone through a Calling retreat or the Online Calling Course, we encourage and facilitate each person to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:23, 24) by listening to each other and God. It’s a very powerful and life giving time which feels exceptional, though it shouldn’t be.
One man at this event said, “I have a long line of people who want to tell what’s wrong with me and a short line of people who want to help me understand who I am and what I bring to the world. That short line started here.”
I want to stand at the beginning of people’s “short line”, seeing them, not from a worldly point of view, but as a new creation, encouraging them on toward love and powerfully good exploits.
Albert Schweitzer said,
Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”
Let’s call out the “new creation” in each other and rekindle our wind weary flame.