What’s On Your Business Card?

What You Put Beneath Your Name Determines Everything

Every day, you and I awake with our name on an invisible business card. It is what is beneath our name – in the place where our titles, roles, skills, experience, and personal stages usually go – that determines everything.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Unsplash

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matt. 13:17

Jesus is under water, and the strong hands of John the Baptist are around his frame. Buried in the sea, this moment with Jesus foreshadows the tomb that will attempt to hold him forever in moments to come, after his life is spent on a cross of hideous design.

The waters of the seas and the oceans, for the ancient Jews, represented chaos – the great unknown, the always dangerous, and the spiritually ominous. The sea represented the mysterious home of unimaginable creatures (remember Leviathan?) and the burial ground of mighty ships and their brave inhabitants.

The Virtue Of The Second Question

After "How Are You?" Is Where The Real Conversation Begins

The conversation between two friends began as usual. “How are you?” one asked the other. The answer came, “It’s been a hard week, but I’m doing okay today.” Then came the response the askee had, unfortunately, come to expect: “Wow. Sorry. Me too. I’m so looking forward to the weekend. I went out for coffee with….”

Photo by Jorge Saavedra on Unsplash

The friend who had asked the first question, like many of us in our generation, had never learned to ask the second question – and the practice of asking the second question is the beginning of empathy – and its companion, friendship.

You Can’t Have Friendship Without Empathy

A colleague of mine, many years ago, defined empathy as “the ability to imaginatively enter into the experience of another.” 

But how can we freely enter the experience of another if we’re tucked safely inside our own feelings, our own experiences, our own worlds, and our own needs – continually (and often unintentionally) turning conversations with friends back to ourselves?

We all want the kind of friendships that feel – powerfully, emotionally, and consistently – deep, lasting, encouraging, helping, supporting, and mutually caring. But how do we get there in our friendships, and help others around us to do the same?

After a few decades of being a friend, and having others be a friend to me, here is a simple tool that can help our conversations with friends become gateways to greater, more lasting connection.

I call it, The Virtue Of The Second Question – and it is a way of conversing that can be learned. 

Shut The Door On Your Device

My Phone Is Not My Friend

My phone usually sits across the bedroom from me while I sleep. These days, I often keep it in another room other than our bedroom at night, at my wife’s request. But I can’t only blame her for the forced device dismissal from our sacred space. My wife is spiritually smarter than I am; she knows the stealing power that lives in that small, innocent device.

Photo credit: Jonas Lee via Unsplash

I might lean toward believing all that hooey about the health risks of mobile phones – you know, those murky reports about phones emitting a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation that can be absorbed by body tissues located near the phone? You know, that nonsense.

A Song Makes You Feel A Thought

Felt Thoughts Are Tripwires For Change

Have you ever found your mood altered after exuberantly singing a favorite song? In worship, it’s more than a feeling at work when we’re singing captivating melodies and breathing out words dense with truth. Songs are felt thoughts – and they can literally change us.

| Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash |

God is my strength, God is my song, and, yes! God is my salvation. 
Exodus 15:2 (The Message)

Reflection

The great lyricist E.Y. Harburg once said, “Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.

When it comes to the formative power of worship in the life of the Christian, no words ever rang more true.

Your New Mother Tongue Of Thankfulness

Every Virtue Comes By Practice

Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.  Psalm 100:4-5 (The Message)

Photo by [Mark Rasmuson on Unsplash]

The daily gifts of God are many – vibrant, lush, and ever present symbols of His generosity.

Finding ourselves in the middle of such lavish generosity we can, by practicing regular rhythms of gratefulness, begin to train ourselves to notice the gifts God is constantly strewing across the path of our lives with more regularity and deeper appreciation.