I received a question Sunday that inspired me to introduce you to someone you already know, but
needs to be renamed. The name of this ‘someone’ is That Person.
The question: “Jim, are you going to talk about being ‘generous in spirit’ during this series?”
I finished my sermon last week at Ascent on “Generosity” and this was the first question I heard
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“There are people who are relationally generous, and there are people that suck the life out of
you,” she said. “I want to make sure I’m not That Person.”
You’ve met That Person – the one who sucks the life out of you. That Person always takes more
relationally than they give. That Person’s favorite topics of conversation are:
When you spend an hour with That Person you know all their issues, challenges and secrets, but walk away wondering, “Do I exist?” That Person doesn’t ask questions about you, show concern about your life or listen. But That Person is a master at talking about his/her own life, and That Person is always on the lookout for someone who will nod or smile or agree or laugh or say, “hmmm.” We dread seeing That person’s car in the parking lot at work or sitting next to That Person in a meeting or class. It’s That Person who hears your best story and instantly has one to top it.
You know That Person? Is That Person a neighbor, co-worker, student or family member? It’s good to identify That Person.
Sobering thought – is That Person you? Someone reading this blog might be identifying you (or me) as That Person. The heart of my friend’s question is: how do I not be That Person?
There is one foolproof way to never be That Person. Give hope. Every human being needs it. We’re
desperate for it. Every day. Hope is the gift That Person never gives. Hope means tomorrow will be better. Hope means I matter. Hope means God is with me. No one with hope is ultimately unhealthy. Jesus was the master at giving hope – “I don’t condemn you…” “Come follow me…” “Blessed are you…” “I will stay at your house…” “You will do even greater things…” “Forgive them…” People flocked to Jesus because they knew what he said and did mattered for their tomorrows. He gave hope. What if you asked Jesus to help your next conversation bring hope to someone else? Your kids? Spouse? Even to That Person? Being a person that brings hope means never looking in the mirror and seeing That Person.
Join Jim, Bill and the gang at Ascent this Sunday at 10am – 550 S. McCaslin in Louisville.