Where do we stop?

Where do we stop? 
by Joel Howard

Say someone comes to you asking for advice
Or maybe its someone in a crisis
Say that advice is a tough question
Say that crisis is a bad one

Where do we stop? 
What do we focus on? 
Where do we hone in? 
Where do we find our resting place? 

I have found great fruit
Even when it is processing my own heart
And my own life
In not stopping at the level of performance
And productivity
But seeking to stretch myself and others 
To go deeper into questions of 
Intimacy and identity

When my wife comes to me
Or when my kids come to me
Or a colleague
Or a person I am ministering to at church
Or simply when I end my day and 
I am sitting with my own emotions and heart

Do I say: "What could you do better?"
and, "How could you produce more?" 
Even, "How can we fix that?"
or, "Make it more productive?"

Do I seek to help others out
By telling them what to do? 
Or do I hone in to the honest heart
And ask them, "Who are you?"

What if questions like 
"What makes you tick?"
or "Where are you hurting?"
Would yield better disciples than
"Let's work this out now"

What if questions like
"Who knows your name?"
and, "What makes you smile?"
are better than
"Can't we get this right?"
or "Better next time!"

I have found in parenting and loving
That a focus on fatherhood and childhood
Is better than machine-fixing or systems resolving

Better to be a child than a computer
Better to be known than be diagnosed
Better to be loved than thrown out
Better to be kissed than analyzed
Better to be led than fixed

What if the questions of life 
Can be answered with further questions
Like "Who are you?"
and "Whose are you?"
Rather than data analysis, solutions and procedures

The old covenant came at us with do's and do-more's 
The new covenant comes at us with a heavenly pen
Ready to write on our heart with the pigment of love
The affections of the Father, and commitment from above

The new one doesn't displace the old one
But fulfills it
Heaven's kiss came with the law
But lands on our hearts with Christ

So when your neighbor or colleague asks you 
For advice
Don't look to your tablet or clipboard, 
Look into their eyes

Stop not at resolving
Rest not in a fix
Let's be Jesus to our brothers
Let's look more and more like Him

Let's rearrange our questions
To go deeper than before
Let's point one another to a Savior
To a Father, to a Lord

Let's invite our own households
To meditate anew
Let's remember once again
Its who we are, not what we do

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