When Jesus interacted with someone, He focused on that person. He stopped. He listened. He engaged. As Christ-followers—and especially as leaders—we too must engage with people.
But like Martha in Luke 10, we can easily become distracted instead. We focus on preparations instead of people. Or perhaps we try to focus on so many people, that we can’t actually invest well in any of them.
Even well-intentioned resources and helpful ministry tools can become attention-diverting devices when we’re not careful. But to minister well, we must choose to be present in every situation.
We asked Foursquare leaders what it means to them to “be present,” so that they can live life well and engage in every moment. Here’s what five of them had to say. Perhaps they’ll give you some ideas on how you can be present in your day-to-day interactions.
Don’t Wait. Live in the Moment.
“Ephesians 5:16 says, ‘making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil’ (NIV). To live well, I have learned the importance of living for the moment and in the moment.
“Have you ever found yourself saying, ‘I can’t wait until …’ or ‘Someday I will …’? Living well means I am present for today while continuing to plan for tomorrow. In this fast and furious world, it is tempting to forsake the beauty of a moment or the people in that moment. Life is short, and to live it, I am compelled to redeem every day and love its incredible adventure.” –Marc Wymore, a Foursquare credentialed minister and worship pastor at LightHouse Church (Newbury Park Foursquare Church) in Newbury Park, Calif.
“Be Present. Be thankful. When you’re present, you’re more thankful. When you’re thankful, you’re more present. Jesus was so present [that] He knew He was touched by a woman in need in a crowd of people. I want to be so present in every encounter that I focus only on that moment in time, so that I see what I never could if I was racing on to the next thing.
“When I stop and think about how thankful I am for the precious family God has given me, no task that I have ahead of me matters, because the here and now is so sacred.” –Candace Trabulsi, an ordained Foursquare minister and associate pastor at Living Way Fellowship (Littleton Foursquare Church) in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Focus on What You Can Control.
“Early in my career, I was told by a colleague to ‘be in the moment and focus on what I could control.’ This advice has helped me live better, work smarter and believe stronger in God’s plan.
“It’s amazing to see a family at dinner all on their smartphones. I have been tempted several times to interrupt their meal and point out the moment they are missing with each other. Or the passenger overly frustrated by a canceled flight—totally out of his/her control, and the negative emotion spent is exhausting.
“It takes a conscious effort to appreciate the moments we have in life and to sharpen our focus on things we can control. Doing so has helped me live well.”
–Josh Burris, vice president of AM Retail Group Inc. (Wilsons Leather, Calvin Klein Performance, El Portal Luggage, Andrew Marc) in Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Learn. Plan. Live.
“I grew up in an area well known for its poverty and defeatist attitude. One statement I continually heard from religious leaders of that area was: ‘What will be, will be,’ as an indication that what God wants in our lives will happen, with or without our input.
“However, as I matured, read Scripture for myself, and listened to the teachings of anointed men and women, I began to understand that to live well, I must realize that I cannot change the past, but must learn from it. I cannot predict the future, but must plan for it; and that I must live in the present, trusting God has my best interest in His heart.” –Kenneth L. Nolen, D.Min., an ordained Foursquare minister and retired Foursquare Chaplains International hospital chaplains coordinator in Cornelius, N.C.
Do Today Well.
“Here’s the problem: I’m still in the process of finishing. Life is not one-dimensional, moving predictably along a single line. There are multiple layers moving at entirely different speeds in innumerable directions all at the same time.
“There is, however, in this complex matter of living, most of which is unplanned and utterly surprising, a defining Presence: The Presence of Christ. To live well is to live in the awareness of His presence.
“To finish well, I must, in that awareness, obediently make the next right decision and do today well. This redeems yesterday and prepares me for tomorrow. Ultimately, He must bring me to His final comment, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ Only then have I finished well.” –Jerry Cook, an ordained Foursquare minister, bestselling author and teacher living in Whidbey Island, Wash.
Check back each Tuesday for the latest installment in our series on recommended ways to live well:
- How Do I Live Well? Find Contentment.
- How Do I Live Well? Love Always.
- How Do I Live Well? Achieve Balance.
- How Do I Live Well? Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly.
See our story “What’s The Best Advice You Ever Received On How To Live Well?” in the July 2013 issue of Foursquare Leader magazine.
Compiled by: Allyson Siwajian, content coordinator for The Foursquare Church and Foursquare Leader magazine in Los Angeles