Not long ago my Pastoral Care Couple from CTEN came to visit me. They encouraged me to read Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A. Lanier. A book about cultural differences. This book challenged my behavior and actions. One is relationship verses task orientation. I am very task oriented. Generally I have a lot of things to do. Time is of the essence. As a missionary, I still have a lot to do. But now I live in a relationship oriented country. Often I am tempted to rush into a store, say what I need, get it and go. Sadly must admit that I have done this, more than once. Which served the task. But did not accomplish God’s purpose for sending me here. The people here are relationship oriented. Establishing a “feel-good” atmosphere is the first priority before the task.
It helps me to stop and think before leaving home. Reminding myself that being a friend and friendly chatter before getting to the task is the best policy. I have improved. I have even come to enjoy getting to know people through friendly chatter. Sometimes I have gone out with the express purpose of doing so. But oftentimes the pressure of tasks piling up make me revert back to hurry mode.
I have found getting to know people gives me a fuller life. I am filled with great joy and happiness with some, hearing how God has blessed them. Others are in such dire situations. My heart is crushed over their hardships.
God challenges me to rejoice with those in their mountaintop joys. And to cry with those in the harshest deep valleys. My Lord Jesus, full of all-consuming compassion, showed me how.
Jesus, fill me with your joy and deep heart pounding compassion. Amen.