Be Present

Day 1 of 3 • This day’s reading



Our church surprised my wife, Lisa, and me with a trip to Paris for twenty years of service. While we were there, I couldn’t help but notice something very different about French culture. You would think it was Thanksgiving every day because people took hours to dine. No one seemed to be in a hurry as they lingered together over a meal. What really caught my attention was how they enjoyed conversation around the table. They put their phones down. They looked at each other and talked.

During that same trip, I was reading Kristin Schell’s book, The Turquoise Table, where she tells the story of how she moved a picnic table from the backyard to the front yard and painted it turquoise. Soon, she found herself lingering around the turquoise table talking with her neighbors. Wonderful, significant, satisfying things happened in those new connections. 

I’m not suggesting you paint your picnic table turquoise and drag it to the front yard. But I would like for you to consider this: busyness doesn’t equal importance or significance. So many of us are overscheduled and overstressed. We have little or no margin that would allow us time to connect with a neighbor or linger with friends over a meal. The truth, however, is that it is in being connected to others that we find life’s real satisfaction and our life’s purpose.

Jesus told his followers, “You are the salt of the earth!” In the days before refrigeration, salt was essential, not just to enhance the taste of food, but also to preserve it. The only way they could be salt in the lives of others was to touch the lives of others and take time to know them. The faith and hope they brought to a conversation always enhanced the lives of the ones they touched. The love and kindness they showed to others in Jesus’ name often saved a life. 

Find an opportunity to connect with a neighbor, friend, or family member this week. 

Reflect on an experience where someone took the time to connect with you and how that person made your day better. How can you enhance someone’s life this week?