Intentionally Present

I recently returned to my current home after spending a week in an extremely large and diverse city. I noticed this pattern of distracting oneself while I was there. Most people did not talk to anyone they did not know. In fact, probably about 75 percent of the people I encountered had on some type of headphones or were absorbed in their electronic devices.

They may have thought that having headphones on or staring at a device in their hands would deter people from talking with them, and for most people, that may have been the case. But I took it as a challenge: how many people can I get to talk with me?

The result was great. When I started to talk with people, nearly all of them at least appeared to enjoy making a connection with someone. And even more than that, every day I was able to share at least once the full gospel—Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—with someone on public transportation!

Now, if I had not been intentionally present and had not sought to use my time purposefully, I could have just as easily missed out on those opportunities. I will admit, some days I did not want to talk to people at all. It would have been easier to just sit there in my own world thinking about the glorious possibilities the future may provide, ponder how I could have done something better in the past, or contemplate anything in between.

But I would have missed those God-ordained opportunities to connect with someone else. I would have missed being able to share God’s truth with them. I would have missed the opportunity to be used by the Father as simply someone who would listen to a small part of this other person’s story. I would have missed the opportunity to be an encourager. I would have missed . . .

It can be hard to be intentionally present when you are focused on yourself. When we are focused on ourselves, we remain distracted from God and we miss so much. When we keep our focus on our Father, we are able to live intentionally in the present.

​Shaniqua Gerber* has lived for two years in Sub-Saharan Africa and now works with North African and Middle Eastern Peoples.



*Name changed.


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