Who spent time and energy investing in you?
Was it a neighbor? A co-worker? A teacher? Maybe a friend or a family member? We all have had people in our lives who have formed and shaped us. These people have supported us, encouraged us, taught us and even held us accountable. They have shared life with us and helped make us who we are today.
Jesus was a master at investing in people. He had things He needed to do during His life and ministry but He never let busyness get in the way of investing in the very people He came to save. He sat with a woman by a well, He invited a despised businessman to try something new, He shared a meal with a tax collector and his disreputable friends. Jesus shared life and built relationships with people like Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. He got to know the mother-in-law of a close colleague. He heard the story of a woman suffering from a chronic disease and a man who needed healing but couldn’t help himself. He reminded those who were struggling to trust in God. He prayed for those around Him. He offered healing, hope, forgiveness, and love. He shared the message of the Good News.
We are called to do the very same thing. God desires us to invest in people. We are not responsible for the outcome. We do this simply because they matter to God.
I don’t know about you, but that can feel overwhelming at times! I struggle as I think through how I can do this in a practical, valuable way. Perhaps you feel the same. If you do, the simple acronym BLESS can help us remember how we can make this meaningful investment in those around us:
B: Begin with Prayer
It may go without saying, yet many of us fail to begin with prayer. Don’t forget this crucial step! God is the one who sees, the one who knows and the one who is active and working. Ask Him to show you where He is at work and who you can invest in today. You’ll be amazed at how He answers!
L: Listen to Their Story
We all have a story. We each have a desire to be seen, known and understood. There is no better way to get to know someone than to listen to their story. Pay attention to places of hope and pain. Lean in and ask clarifying questions. Don’t argue with who they are…just open yourself to hearing about their life. God has been in it from the very beginning.
E: Eat a Meal Together
Some of the most meaningful conversations and connections are made while sharing a meal together. Jesus did this all throughout His life here on earth. There is something powerful and transformative that happens in community around a table. It breaks down barriers and makes having a conversation more comfortable. This doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective. It’s the time invested listening and sharing with others that makes all the difference in the world.
S: Serve Them
As Jesus was talking and teaching, He reminded everyone that He did not come to be served, but to serve others and give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) One of the most powerful ways to invest in someone is to serve them in practical ways. Your acts of service do not have to be extravagant in order to be meaningful. Listen thoughtfully as people share what’s happening in life and as they express their genuine needs. Be willing to help them in a way that show’s the love and grace of Jesus.
S: Share Who You Are
You have a story too! As your relationship develops be willing to share who you are! What has life been like for you? Who are the people in your family? When have you been disappointed? How has God revealed Himself in the midst of your brokenness and joy? How has God shown you His goodness?
Remember, you don’t have to worry about the outcome. God is in charge of that! We simply invest in people because they matter to God.
Don’t forget to share your stories of how you invest in people. What’s working well? Where have you had challenges. This will help us all learn and grow!