The investment.

As much as I appreciate the convenience of exchanging thoughts with a friend via email or chat, there’s nothing I like as much as sitting down face-to-face with drinks and plenty of time. (Or even just the time.) Sometimes you need the voice, the face, and the eyes; you need to hear the intonation, see the expressions, and follow the dynamics. We say so much apart from words, and it is all too easily missed for the sake of fast, easy communication.

I’m a one-on-one kind of person. Yes, I enjoy hostessing groups, sharing lively discussions, and spending time with diverse company. But there’s something singularly delightful about taking the opportunity to sit down with someone, even if briefly, have a focused conversation, and let that one person be the single most important thing for however long you’re with them. Some people have a particular gift for doing this, and it’s something I try to cultivate. It’s the way I get to know people best, and the way I am most accurately represented to others.

My love for this kind of interaction was learned by example. Certain people have appeared throughout my life at various times whom I can pinpoint as the kindest and most generous I have ever known. But as I think about it, I realize that many of them were/are either relatively young or only in my life briefly. Why did they have such an impact?

Because they invested.

Invested a few minutes listening to my goals and dreams. Invested an idea that caused me to think long and hard. Invested some amount of time, attention, or even resources —  not because I could give them anything back, but because I needed their help and they saw my heart.

And how few of them know the role those investments played in building me into what I am and what I will be. Those are ripples into eternity, concentric waves spreading out further and further.

But most importantly, they planted in me the desire to invest likewise; to love as I have been loved. Perhaps this is the root of my passion for one-on-one fellowship — the opportunity to catch a glimpse of another’s heart, to walk alongside, to communicate love with words or, more often, with a listening ear. And sometimes, to do that in a brief period of time, even a single conversation.

I appreciate that arenas of ministry are diverse, and some feel they are more gifted in group dynamics or behind-the-scenes support. But regardless of what ‘type’ of ministry you are called to, investment in other people is non-negotiable. We are the Church, the body of Christ. Where does the love of the Father dwell if not in us? Though love has many dimensions, heart and hands must meet. Love must not only care about in theory, but dwell among in practice.

Oftentimes, that’s as simple as giving someone your time, your attention, your ear, and maybe a good question or two. It’s a blessing. Giving that gives back. A simple way to meet the human need for love and fellowship. A small investment, but an investment indeed.

One you can’t afford not to make.


3 thoughts on “The investment.

  1. I confess, when I first read this, I felt like I couldn’t relate to it much, since I don’t really consider myself the “let’s meet in a coffeshop and just talk” kind of person (besides the fact that I hold an almost moral conviction against coffee… but that’s a different story).

    But investment in face-time, words, and listening doesn’t require a Starbucks table to sit at or, as you said, a whole lot of time even. Investing love in people by going out of your way to talk and listen to them… that’s exactly what I’ve been striving to do as well, though I admit, I think I’m more of a small-talk person than a real heart-reader. My one-on-one conversations never go very deep, as yours clearly do. =)

    Noelle, are you familiar with the biblical concept of disciplemaking? (basically, a Christ-follower spending one-on-one time with another who isn’t as far along in their walk to help them grow) It sounds like you’ve been discipled by some amazing people, but have you ever been on the giving end? I’d love to hear about it if you have, I think it’d come super naturally to you.

  2. I would echo timothy’s thoughts exactly (except for the unaccustomedness to one-on-one).

    I look forward to our wednesdays every week. In fact, I’m looking forward to wednesday already. I am so blessed by you my dear sweet friend. <3

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