How many times in your day do you ask that question more as a greeting than a question? In fact, most of us probably wouldn’t know what to do if the response was anything other than “fine”. Often we don’t even stop to really hear the answer. We pass people on the street, in the office, in church and say, “How are you?” and keep walking hearing a faint “fine” coming from somewhere behind us.
The other day I was walking down the sidewalk and asked our question, “How are you?” What do you think was the response? Of course…”fine”. So I stopped and asked the person how they really were doing. This person’s eyes filled with tears and she began to tell me the story of a life that was beginning to unravel. We actually had a chance to talk about life, about things that mattered to her. I really just needed to listen and she did most of the talking.
I am reminded of the care Christ had for others. I think of the story in the book of John telling us about the woman at the well. Christ could have ignored her. In fact, she was a Samaritan and Jews usually did not associate with Samaritans. If Christ wanted to be polite He could have simply asked how she was doing as He hurried past. I bet you her answer would have been “fine” even though she was deeply suffering. Yet Christ stopped because He really cared about her and engaged her in meaningful discussion about her soul.
May I ask you to start investing more time with others? Listen to them. Talk with them. Care about them. Christ would ask us to do nothing less.