Finding Something in Common

Betty was one of the home bound people in my church that I visited regularly. She lived in a dilapidated small house with tar paper faux brick siding. It was located at the end of a long bush-lined driveway with tire ruts so deep that I had to straddle them so that my car wouldn’t bottom out and get hung up.

Betty smoked constantly, the years of nicotine causing her skin to look like old wrinkled leather. The wrinkles, however, couldn’t hide a big smile that she regularly displayed; she was a warm and vivacious little lady.

Betty and I had something in common; we both loved reading Louis L’Amour novels. We’d sit at her kitchen table discussing the adventure of the Sacketts while she puffed away with both of us sitting under a cloud of smoke that hung just below the kitchen ceiling.

It was my good fortune that she subscribed to the leatherette hard cover collector edition of the novels for after reading a novel she passed it on to me. She usually gave me one at every visit, a great incentive for me to make a regular pastoral call! However, I couldn’t start reading each volume immediately; they wreaked of cigarette smoke so my wife insisted I air them out in the garage a day or two.

One of our God-given instincts is to be a positive influence on people who cross our path. For this to happen requires that we establish some kind of a connection with the person. Louis L’Amour was my connection with Betty that helped me relate with her at a deeper and more spiritual level as her pastor.

We can almost always find some common interest with almost anyone, if we just spend a little time and effort getting to know them. It’s this connection that paves the way for us to impact people’s lives and for them to do the same with us. Finding common ground with others makes it possible for us to travel at least a small part of the journey of life together, and this is a good thing, something God intends for us to do!

“I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.” (The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22)

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