I had just entered my first summer in Romania as a missionary, and one morning I discovered a stranger at my apartment door spouting words I didn’t understand.
To give some background information, the city had recently turned off the hot water to our apartment buildings, and this lasted for a month over that season. Lack of hot water created a challenge when it came to taking showers. So, instead of using the shower, my roommate and I decided to run cold water from the faucet into the bathtub, and then pour in hot water we boiled on the stove to create a comfortable temperature for baths. It seemed to work—until my downstairs neighbor appeared banging angrily on our door.
I couldn’t understand much of what he said except “water” and “down.” Then I realized the water that was draining from our bathtub had been leaking from the pipes into his apartment below. Before, the shower must not have had the same effect since the slow stream of water dripped down the drain gradually. But a full bathtub being un-stoppered, sending gallons of water out all at once? I grasped how this might cause a problem. So, during the rest of that month, I would drain the tub throughout an entire day, pulling the plug out and then plunging it right back in over and over. It must have worked; the downstairs neighbor never returned.
To solve the problem of the leaky bathtub, I needed to take on a posture of humble listening. Jesus Himself listened to questions from His disciples, challenges from Pharisees, and cries from those longing to be healed—and He still listens to us today. When we trust in Jesus and all He’s done to bring us into a relationship with God, He also empowers us to take on His humility. Even though Jesus had all the answers (He is God, after all) He still took time to listen and respond to people’s needs. He humbled Himself even to the point of dying on the cross for us so He could meet our greatest need: to be rescued from sin and death. When we consider others’ needs—as Jesus considers ours—we can show the loving humility of Christ. • Allison Wilson Lee
• How is a listening posture also a Christlike posture? How could remembering that Jesus listens to us make it easier for us to listen to others?
• If what we’re doing hurts others, God calls us to stop, listen, and carefully consider how to change what we’ve been doing. Who are trusted Christians in your life who could help you discern God’s guidance as you navigate situations like these?
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (NIV)