Jim Collins begins his monograph Good to Great and the Social Sectors with this anecdote:
During my first year on the Stanford faculty in 1988, I sought out professor John Gardner for guidance on how I might become a better teacher. He stung me with a comment that changed my life.
“It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be interesting,” he said. “Why don’t you invest more time being interested?”
Frederick L. Collins made the same point with this quip:
“There are two types of people—those who walk into a room and say, ‘Here I am!’ and those who walk into a room and say, ‘There you are.’ ”
If there is one principle about the value and practice of staying (when it comes to loving your neighbour), it is to work more on being interested than interesting.
Of course, by being interested, your neighbours will think you are interesting. “Staying” is about loving your neighbours by learning about your neighbours. It’s not just about physically staying around; it’s about staying attuned and staying interested.
This is something I wrestle with. Yet, I have been surprised by how quickly things naturally emerge when we experiment with having this level of intentionality.
Already there have been moments where my neighbours have opened up about deep life challenges purely because there was someone showing interest in them.
Our WikiChurch series may have concluded, but the intention and vision behind it has just begun. Can I encourage all of you who are yet to join a Connection Group to begin praying into it for 2017 and even better, register your interest before the year is done at www.northsidechurch.org.au/wikichurch or at the info desk in the foyer.
It’s in that context of life together that we best share the stories of the challenges (and the wins) of being the best neighbours we can be to those who cross our path.