These days, I swallow hard as I realize I am closer to my 40s than my 20s, but, as I reflect on that formative decade, there is one key lesson that has served me well, and it is the art of asking questions.
When I was entering my 20s, Facebook was still a thing in the distant future. Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc., were all ideas yet to be birthed. I didn’t even own a cell phone until I was 24, and it was a“ dumb” phone. There were not a whole lot of distractions.
What I learned during those years was how to engage deeply, face-to-face, instead of screen-to-screen. I learned how to ask open-ended questions and how to practice appropriate curiosity. Apart from their sheer ability to distract us, our tools of communication can also lure us into a game of shameless self-promotion and “personal branding.” As far as I can observe, in our current state, there are less and less people who have the skill and confidence to sit with another human and draw them out with well-placed and thoughtful questions. Proverbs 20:5 says, “ The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (ESV).
Jesus was not concerned about building His brand. His focus was always outward. If we desire to look more like Jesus, we need to look outward too. Our devices and websites are not the problem—as long as we are driving them, and they are not driving us. The question that Jesus was always quick to bring to surface was this: who are you becoming?
Are you becoming a person of understanding who can draw others out?