The world would be a better place if we had more people like Clarence. Clarence is a small-town, hardware-store worker who has a passion for people. His career is not the most lucrative in the world, and you probably wouldn’t expect him to advance rapidly up the corporate ladder. But this humble man has mastered the art of communication. He sees each new customer as an opportunity to build a relationship.

When you first step through the door of Clarence’s store, he is there to greet you. He asks how your family is doing, how things are going at work, and he shows a genuine interest in you. As you explain why you have come to the store, Clarence inquires about the project you are planning. Then he walks you through the best way to complete the task. After you buy the items you need, Clarence walks you to the door, smiles, and says, “Have a great day!”

In sharp contrast to your experience with Clarence, you find the exact opposite at a big-market supply store. Here, you have to find what you need on your own. No one is available to help you, and the people are not as friendly. The large store may have the financial means to call itself successful, but it lacks the means of true success: the personal touch.

The Church needs more people like Clarence — people who are willing to listen; people who are willing to lend a helping hand; people who are willing to share their insights about how Christ can make life work; people who care. These people are few and far between, but they are not hard to spot. On any given day, you will find them selflessly pouring themselves into the lives of others.

If you are too busy to stop and listen to someone who wants to talk, the chances are you’re too busy. Slow down and seize the opportunities God gives you each day to build relationships with others. (Remember, God has taken time to build a relationship with you.) You will find that regardless of where you work or what you do, people will keep coming back for more. That is success.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.