Monday, March 5, 2012

Lent: Being Attentive to Others by Glenn Myers

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measure to you.” (Luke 6:38)

One of the greatest gifts of love we can give anyone is our attentiveness. When we offer others our compete focus, we show them how much we value them. Instead of being preoccupied with our own workload, our financial pressures and our struggles, we show them genuine care by assigning them our undistracted time and undivided attention.

The reverse is also true. When others are attentive to us—wanting to know how we are doing inside and listening without thinking of something they want to say—we know we are loved.

Yet, how often we forget to focus on others! Most days we go through life inattentive to people around us. Dwelling on the things that weigh us down, we obsess about ourselves and give only casual notice to those we see. “How are you doing?” is a greeting rather than a question, and our interest remains fixed on our problems. In our self-obsession we fail to love others and we run the risk of caving in on ourselves.

Lent has always been a season for fasting. Perhaps this Lent you and I can fast from our self-focus in order to be truly attentive to others. We can step away from our continual self-obsession and silence our self-worry long enough to listen to people, especially those we care about the most.

Jesus calls us to pour ourselves out. “Give, and it will be given to you,” he commands. Whatever amount of love and attention we show others is precisely the measure that will come back to us. Of course we dare not give simply in order to get—that is called manipulation. Rather, we give freely, and—for a few moments of listening to someone else--we forget about ourselves. In due time, we will discover others giving us the time, attention and interest that shows us how loved we are.

Lord Jesus, set me free from the quicksand of self. Just as you care for me and attend my every thought and need, help me to get out of myself in order to care for others. Show me how I can be attentive to those around me and love them as never before. Amen.

© 2011 Glenn E. Myers

Glenn E. Myers is author of Seeking Spiritual Intimacy: Journeying Deeper with Medieval Women of Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011), welcoming believers to pursue a deeper walk with Christ. He is also a contributor to Zondervan’s Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (2011). Glenn’s passion is helping contemporary Christians grow spiritually by introducing them to the rich heritage of the past two thousand years of the church. Offering fresh spiritual water to thirsty saints today, he authors a blog:

In 1995-1996, he and his wife Sharon ministered with CBN in Kiev. Receiving an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in church history from Boston University, Dr. Myers has served as pastor, missionary and professor. Currently he is a professor of Church History at Crown College with a specialization in the history of Christian Spirituality. Glenn also serves on the board at Restoration Ministries, Inc., offering retreats and provides spiritual direction.

© Glenn E. Myers. Used with permission.

Photo Credit: Creation Speaks 

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