Aside from the fact that she won 1.1 million dollars as the winner of "Survivor-One World" on CBS, San Antonio's Kim Spradlin also found the secret of winning in life. That secret? Relationships. The twelve year, 24-season reality show, one of the most successful in television history, "Survivor" has presented us with some of T.V.'s most hated villains. But, it also has shown us what it takes to win. Miss Spradlin said, "I made it a point to get to know all the competitors."
This lady got it right. With those piercing blue eyes, she made it a point to find out all she could about those with whom she played the game. While they were speaking, she was listening. When they finished speaking, she spoke, and she convinced each person that she really heard what they said and cared about them. She made them believe that she really did think it was important for them to know that she understood. That's exactly what relationships are all about. Most of us are so busy trying to talk, to get our message over, that we don't take time to listen to what is important for the other people with whom we share this planet. Kim understood the first rule of relationships—try to understand the other person before trying to make yourself understood.
If I could give some advice to any pastor-friend it would be this: listen first. Then speak. And when you speak, at least try to make it appear that you heard and understood what the other person said. Success in church life is about making people believe you understand their issues and problems. You don't even have to solve those problems—just understand them. It is amazing how far that will take you on the road to success. That is how you relate to people. By understanding them.
It goes without saying that most people in the church have the same aspirations for eternity. Most people in the church believe there is an eternal life and it is called heaven by most of us. So, by using that belief as our common ground, we can concentrate more on what this world is about than what the next one is about. Since we are not worried about the next world, our concern should be about this one. How can we navigate the potholes of this world, while we make our way to the smooth streets of the world to come?
Most of us will one day come to understand that success is more about what we can do to help people navigate their way through the present life. Understanding what each of these folks face every day forms the basis of our relationships with them, and the more we can learn about the difficulties each person faces here, the deeper our relationships with them will be. And the more relationships we can form here, the more successful we will be.
You may not win the million dollars, but your life will be like that of a millionaire, with a myriad of rich relationships along your path to the eternal life you seek.