One Good Word a Day: Invitations to Encourage, Deepen, and Refine Your Faith

Day 7 of 7 • This day’s reading



“Prof, can we talk?” Those words come most often as I erase the old-fashioned chalkboard, intentionally lingering a few moments at the end of each class, giving my students the opportunity to seek me out for conversation or questions. 

I teach a business law class to juniors and seniors at a nearby university, and despite how awful and boring the topic sounds, it's one of my favorite things. Our American legal system is fascinating—filled with intellectual nuance that invites wrestling with hard questions concerning justice, equity, and ethics, and my students are delightful. Their curiosity, dreams, and enthusiasm for life fill me with hope for the next generation and for the future. 

While I have established office hours with the promise of a chocolate stash consisting of the “really good” stuff, it’s lingering those few moments after class that invites approach. And when the conversation requires more time or a bit more privacy, I’m then able to say, “Let’s walk upstairs to my office and chat.” And we do. We talk about missing assignments, about that hard thing they are navigating, or possibilities around future careers. As much as I love teaching, it’s the lingering I love the most, the opportunity to listen to a young person’s thoughts with a few probing questions from me nudging them forward. 

The benefits of lingering are lost in our cultural obsession with hustling. We race from task to task, activity to activity, catching dinner and one another in frantic, fleeting moments in which we barely make eye contact. We no longer linger, allowing quiet moments to stretch, giving one another space to ponder and process. We were made to linger—before God, with our spouses, with our faith communities. Lingering is not wasted time. It is an invitation to trade mundane, day-to-day topics for real life, heart-to-heart conversations with God and with others. 

Lord, may we find renewed contentment in lingering before you and with those around us. Amen. 

One Good Step: Build time into your schedule for lingering—in the mornings with Jesus, at the coffee machine at work during breaks, around the dinner table. 

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