When I notice that a friend or acquaintance seems upset or off, it would be easy to say, “No, I don’t want to bother them,” and go on with my day. But what we as Jesus’ hands and feet [and ears] must realize is this: people want to be bothered. People want other people to care about their losses, joys and experiences. How can we actually care unless we ask?
This has only become clearer to me while living in NYC. In a city where I see literally hundreds of faces everyday, actually noticing one particular person’s face can speak volumes. Attention is a precious gift: one that each of us has the ability and opportunity to give. As an introvert myself, I know how difficult it can be to summon the energy to interact with another human being, much less engage in a deep and compassionate way. But, I also know how it feels when someone listens, really listens, to what I’m going through.
Sharing Jesus in existing relationships, knowing and being known, being available to show the love of God during the important and unimportant moments, consistently being a presence of peace and a voice of compassion—all of these are part of the ministry available to the whole of the body. These make up the duties of the priesthood of all believers.
What I really want to say is this: every one of us in the church has a network of relationships, ones through which God desires to use us as ambassadors of the Kingdom. But, if we are not available, whether out of fear of being annoying or a sense of not being called or gifted enough, we cut ourselves off from participating in the ministry of Christ.
As your sister and co-laborer with Christ, I would like to encourage you to look for opportunities to be a listener. Listen to the stories of people around you, seek out occasions to help them experience Jesus’ love and share how you have experienced it for yourself.