A friend recently told me his story of owning a local service station when he was younger. In telling the story he said something that I found very wise. It was his experience that if you were nice to people’s kids and petted their dogs, they were more likely to become repeat customers. In a day and time before the saturation of marketing, this was pure genius. Now for my friend it was natural and sincere, but he was aware of its effectiveness. How simple. Paying attention to the little things matters to people.
I believe that in large part this is still true today. I certainly believe that it is true for the church. The old saying goes “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. \Paying attention to someone and caring about them makes an impact. Isn’t it nice when you go somewhere and people remember your name?
Early in my ministry I had a friend who treated everyone he talked to like the most important person in the world. His example inspired me to try and do the same. That meant being a better listener. It meant caring about the little things.
When I think of Jesus walking around this broken world I feel like he should have been overwhelmed by the vast amount of needs He faced every minute. Instead, he seemed to be able to focus on the smallest need and minister effectively to each individual to whom He spoke. The most powerful prayer times come when I bring my petty stuff before His throne and I know He cares about it.
In this fast moving life where it is always about getting to the next thing as quickly as possible, it really pays off to give attention to the kids and pet the dogs. It may be that the most significant ministry comes in the fact that people want to come back because they are made to feel like they belong. My encouragement is to take that extra minute and pay attention to the little things. You just may make an eternal impact.