When Jesus spoke with people, they had his complete attention. The Bible does not say, "And while he sanded wood and kept watch on a pot of stew, Jesus said ?" He simply listened, then responded. Individually and compassionately.
In Jesus' meeting with the woman at the well - his longest one-on-one conversation ever recorded in Scripture - she was amazed a Jew was even willing to speak to a Samaritan: "How can you ask me for a drink?" (John 4:9). The disciples were taken aback, too, when they "returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman" (John 4:27).
Clearly Jesus put conversations first on his to-do list, ignoring what was politically correct or productively expedient. Nothing mattered more than this thirsty woman.
His disciples got the message: "No one asked, ?Why are you talking with her?'" (John 4:27).
She got the message, too, putting aside her task in favor of talking to people: "Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town ?" (John 4:28).
Now it's our turn to get the message: Relationships aren't a task. Listening intently is the most valuable gift we can give. And looking into the eyes of someone we care about is time wisely spent.
Excerpted from Simplicity, a new downloadable resource from Gifted for Leadership.