Love one another. Consider others more important than yourself. Serve one another. Care for one another. Encourage one another. Teach one another. Edify one another.
Did you know that there’s an important precept underlying all of the instructions above? Yep. That precept is this: For those who follow Jesus Christ, other people are important.
My friends Paul are Laurel moved to the Congo last year. They are working with Wycliffe Bible Translators, and they’re currently working with several local languages. But, it seems they are learning much more than just languages. Last week, they published a post called “Convicting Language Lesson.”
Here’s how they described an important lesson they’re learning:
A few days ago, I was sitting in the office along with the Komo translators when suddenly one of them, Tony, stood up and walked brusquely across the room with a very determined look on his face. Then they all started laughing. After a minute or two, Amisi, the director asked me, “Do you understand what we are talking about?” When I said no, he began to explain a very interesting verb to me. In Komo, they have a word for going somewhere with such determination that you don’t even stop to greet people on the way. He said “You know, like you foreigners often do” . . . Ouch! It’s true, isn’t it? We are often more goal oriented than people oriented and it really sticks out in a culture like this. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty cool verb.
There’s not much left to say after that, is there?
The way we live… even the way we walk from place to place… demonstrates whether or not we think people are important.
I’ve been to a couple of places around the world that are not event oriented (like most people are here in the United States). I’ve learned so much from the people of these culture. Primarily, I’ve learned how to live in a way that shows that other people are important. I’ve learned to talk to people in a way that shows that I care more about what they have to say than what I plan to say next.
Of course, sometimes my old American habits come to the surface. But, I want to live – and even to walk – in a way that shows other people that they are important to me.
But, then, they have to actually be important to me first…