What a joy writing this article has been for me, personally, as it has given me the opportunity to remember the powerful work the Lord did in each of our lives during the 2013 ELC Conference. A great part of this work was accomplished through the Holy Spirit purging things in us by graciously re-opening past wounds, cleaning out infections that may have been festering, and then stitching up the wounds once again so that proper healing could take place.
While healing may have begun, there will always be an element of continued pain. However, it is how we respond to this pain that defines who we become in Christ. Watching each of you respond to your own personal pain throughout the conference and then seeing how you lovingly invested in each other during that process, are the two things that have inspired me to write today.
There is such importance in knowing the value of investment, and in continuing to learn how to invest in the lives of others. As individuals, we will all invest differently and all need to be uniquely invested in. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to share a few tips of practical thought, in the area of investment, which the Lord has revealed to me throughout my time in ministry.
“The simplest things are forgotten the fastest.”
1. Words, Words, Words.
When investing in someone else’s life, you give up the right to be personally offended. Don’t take things personally even if it is. WE DECIDE to allow words from others, which are meant to sting, kindle a fire of anger or rest in the peace of an ongoing flow of forgiveness which keeps us focused on Christ our Savior and others in whom we serve.
2. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.
Often times, with those we invest in, we see them make great decisions which we rejoice about! Yet a few days later it is followed by multiple bad decisions. Many times, in order to take 1 step forward in a person’s life you may have to be willing to endure seeing them take 2 steps backwards. Be careful not to focus solely on your disappointment, but rather keep your focus on being available during the good times and the bad times. That’s when they need you the most.
3. Responding, Responding, Responding.
Always respond well. No matter what happens, no matter what is said or how tough the circumstance, stay cool. People always watch how we handle ourselves in the toughest of situations. Circumstances should never dictate our behavior. When it is all said and done what speaks loudest is our behavior. Responding well brings merit to your message.
4. Listening, Listening, Listening.
Be a great listener. You can not speak the wisdom needed until you understand the heart of issue(s). Listening paves a path to the heart. True listening is an aggressive act of finding and addressing the needs and the issues (Listen more. Talk less.). Listening, is an intentional act of focused attention on what is being communicated by the individual – whether what is spoken, a person’s tone, or even their demeanor (It’s about sifting through the non-essentials and listening for the essentials). Again, this takes focused attention. “You cannot be a good investor if you’re not a good listener.”
Our approach clears a path into the lives of others so that we may inject the love and wisdom of God with our words and deeds. If we want to invest like we desire, it may require our attention on the simplest of things which are often forgotten the fastest.
I pray this may be of help to you as we battle in the name of the King, and are useful and encouraging to each of you.