>Yes, that’s right. This happened just recently. We were engaged in a nice conversation about…well…important stuff…and the fact that my MacBook Pro has some “bling.”
But when we were done and he was headed out of the coffee shop to go about his day’s work and I was left to finish the very important business that I was doing (probably updating Facebook!) he said, “See ya, John!” I heard him. I didn’t correct him, but I heard him.
I’ve been in this town for 10 years and, while I’m no old-timer, most of the town has been here for fewer years than I have with my family. So, I consider myself pretty well known. And, frankly, I kind of assume that I’m going to be well-known. I’m “Pastor Jim.” It’s how I sign my coffee cards, building up to get that “free” one after I’ve plunked down the money for 10 “non-free” ones plus tip. And, I kind of assume that…even if people don’t know me well…they will know me as “Pastor Jim”…or “Jim”…or “Spike” (long story).
And so, I was surprised that he called me, “John.” I guess he was good on the first letter. “Jim” and “John” aren’t really all that far apart. But he really didn’t know who I was.
And, you know what, I didn’t really know who he was. I couldn’t tell you his name, even if I tried. We’re not friends. But we’ve chatted in the coffee shops. I’ve seen him with his son. He’s seen me with my kids — all five or just a few at a time. But I really don’t know who he is. I know his face and I could only hope I could get as close to correct as he was with my name.
Isn’t this the way it is at our churches at times. We assume we know everyone who is coming. We assume that we’re on a first-name basis with them. We assume we know families and friends and where they work and all the stuff. But, more often than not, we really don’t. We may know their faces. But, we may not know a Jim from a John from a Larry or whatever. We’ve never really taken the time.
So, how can we expect the relationships to be deep and meaningful if we know so little about each other?
I may have been called “John” but I think, when I see this guy again, I need to make sure I learn his name. This isn’t about getting him in the church or finding a new best friend. But it is about caring enough to learn some of the most basic information about a person.
That’s a place to start.