I spend most of my life travelling around the world speaking in churches and conferences, and to business groups. I sit with strangers on planes, and in lounges, hotels, restaurants and sports fields. Everywhere I travel I am brushing shoulders with strangers and, I must confess, it took me a long time to work out what to do in this strange world.
Let me share what I resolved to do in this stranger-filled world:
1. NEVER BE ONE OF THE CROWD
Be ONE IN the crowd. In other words, be cool in your own skin so you don’t get lost in the crowd. Walk through life as though you are on an important mission for God and for good. Make sure you stand out in the crowd by being confident in who you are.
2. NEVER SEE PEOPLE AS TREES WALKING
People are the most interesting, strange yet unique creations of God; they are worth watching and studying. Never let the rush of the madding crowd cause you to see life as a blur.
Every person carries a unique God print on their lives that is worth discovering if you will take the time.
3. ENGAGE TO BECOME FRIENDS
One of my biggest challenges has been when flying. Having to share a middle armrest with a large being, or simply sharing space with a rude and inconsiderate person often stretches me considerably.
Watch how a person acts when travelling and tired, and you see the real person.
Travelling changed for me the moment I decided to make all strangers my friends, and I am now the richer for it.
So I now choose to engage people with the view to being friendly. Remember, if you want friends you must show yourself as friendly. The best way to be friendly is to give four things to the other person:
a. Give them a face. Look at their face and you are halfway toward making a new friend.
b. Give them room to be themselves and be relaxed.
c. Give them a name. Find out and repeat their name often.
d. Give them a compliment and be interested in them by asking questions about their life.
4. SHARE YOUR STORY
Believe that the steps of a good person are ordered by the Lord and that every connection with a stranger is a divine appointment. If I can, I always try to share something from three areas of my life:
a. Who I am: married with kids and grandkids. I love showing them photos on my iPad.
b. What I do: I love telling people of my travels and unique experiences.
c. What I believe: it always comes up in conversation. Your experiences of faith are always powerful and often lead to more in-depth conversations.
Remember this: kindness and consideration of others is the real evidence of a Jesus life. Strangers only remain strangers if you are so preoccupied with your own little world that you won’t take time to let people in.
Jesus said, go into all the world and make people your friends.
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