Busy is the buzzword these days. Some wear it as a badge of honor, others don’t even want to speak its name to reality. I fall into the latter. When I am alluding to my “busy” day, I say I have a full day. The word busy just robs me of joy and love. Mostly because I have found that while “comparison is the thief of joy,” I think busy is the thief of love. We are all just too dang busy to love others well. How sad is that? And, I’m sitting here behind this screen typing these words with my hand-raised! I was guilty of this today when I raced past a homeless person in my car, asking for a hand out, but because my “full” plate was making me late to school pick-up, I didn’t stop.
So what if for a minute we stepped back from our “full” planners and really thought about what this four letter word looks like in action? Better yet, let’s see what Proverbs has to say about showing love right where we are.
You ever wonder why God gave us two ears and one mouth? I think He wanted to make a point. He wants us to “be slow to speak and quick to listen” (James 1:19 NIV) for a reason. People want to be heard. Listening tells that person they are valued and you care. When we listen to those around us, making them the focal point of our conversations, we are showing the selfless love of God.
A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise. PROVERBS 12:15 CSB
Love always pairs well with a smile. If you want someone to know you care—I see you and I value you; I’m approachable and I’m friendly—flash those pearly whites. And since smiling is contagious, you’ll probably get one back. It’s a win-win! No wonder God has us smiling only a few weeks after we’re born. He knew our smiles would make us irresistible, deepening our attachments to those we love.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart. PROVERBS 15:30A NLT
Not only does listening show love, but asking questions—How are you feeling? Where did you go on vacation? What’s your favorite breakfast place?—not only makes people feel heard, confirming their voice matters, it broadens our own perspectives about the world we share. And every time we seek to understand our friends, God begins transforming us from being me-focused into others-focused.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. PROVERBS 1:5 NIV
Have you ever heard the saying you spell love, T-I-M-E? When you give your time to people (the 30 seconds it would have taken me to roll my window down and give a few dollars and a blessing to that man in need today?), you tell that person they are worthy-worthy of your time, worthy of your love.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. PROVERBS 3:27 ESV
It doesn't matter if a person is rich or poor, tall or short, Jesus lover or . . . not, we are all created by God. And all called by God to love everyone. Our shared made-from-God-ness provides so many opportunities to relate to one another—to love one another. Find common ground and watch love break down those walls of differences.
The rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all. PROVERBS 22:2 NLT