I watched a documentary over the weekend about Mr. Rogers called “Mr. Rogers and Me” that was produced by a man who actually lived next to Mr. Rogers on Nantucket Island.
I have always held Mr. Rogers in high regard. I grew up watching and enjoying his show with my older siblings. What I didn’t know, but was not surprised to learn was that Mr. Rogers was a man of great faith. He was a believer and a preacher, with a master’s degree in divinity.
One thing in the documentary that kept coming up was how well he listened to people.
Over and over, people said that when you were talking with Mr. Rogers, you felt like the only person on the planet. One journalist said that when he called to interview Mr. Rogers he even told him, “You are the most important person in the world to me at this moment.”
I felt instantly convicted, and at the same time ashamed, that this was such an uncommon thing in our world. In a world where there are Christ followers, there should be listeners. Jesus sat with the tax collectors and the undesirable people of his time and listened to them, no matter who they were.
Jesus told people to let the little children come to Him because He didn’t hold Himself in such High regard that His teachings were too advanced or too important for their little ears. Yet, daily I can find a reason to not listen to someone attentively because something else that is in my eyes is more important than the person standing in front of me. If we were to step aside, throw our selfish ambition to the wind and just listen to each other, we could more greatly reflect the love of Jesus in our daily lives.
The Bible is full of many passages that instruct us to listen such as:
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance” (Prov. 1:5).
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
Think of the people hurting in this world who just need someone to listen to them for even just a moment, and how the Lord holds each one of us in such high regard that not one person is too little for His ear.
He listens, therefore, to truly be Christ-like, our duty is to listen. You can’t listen if you’re already thinking of how you will respond to someone. You can’t listen if you’re constantly nodding and agreeing (something I struggle doing because I like to affirm people), and you most definitely can’t listen if you’re on your phone or looking away from someone.
I challenge you, next time someone is speaking with you, intentionally put aside the distractions, make eye contact with them and treat them like they are the most important person in the world. You would be amazed at what undivided attention to someone can do to instill confidence in them or lift their spirit.
** AN IMPORTANT NOTE ** I am due to have my first child, Silas Dean Howsden, in about a week. Therefore, I will be out of commission for the next eight weeks as I take maternity leave to be with him and my husband, and learn how to be a mom before returning to work. In this time I won’t be blogging, but I hope to catch up with you faithful readers upon my return. See you in September, and as always, thank you for reading!
I leave you with one of my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes, and I hope you take it to heart:
“There is no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are” – Fred Rogers