Curiosity drives the world of science. It causes us to push the bounds of what we know and understand. Often, in science, the real answer is far from obvious. Innovation and invention often comes when we look deep below the surface and ask ourselves, “Why did this happen?” or, “Why isn’t this the result I expected?”
As we saw in Tuesday’s devotion, God has wired us to be curious. It is one of the greatest strengths we possess. All the best scientists share this curiosity for the world around them. It drives them to not accept what seems obvious, but to always look deeper and more thoroughly at a problem. When we look at the reasons behind a process and think about the ways in which we could apply it elsewhere, we begin the process of discovery and invention. That’s exactly how many of the most important scientific discoveries come about.
One of the most brilliant scientists, Albert Einstein, once said: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
The “holy curiosity” Einstein speaks of will also serve us well in our relationships with others. But holy curiosity about others almost always begins with a choice. We must first choose to notice people. We must choose to allow them to matter to us. We must choose to extend love and compassion to them.
Curiosity focuses our attention on others rather than on ourselves. That will reduce our fear of not asking the “right” question, saying the “right” thing, or having the “right” answer. Curiosity is the bridge that gets us from noticing another person to actively engaging with them. Proverbs 18:15 teaches us that wise men and women are always learning, always listening for new insights. In Philippians 2, Paul indicates that curiosity is born out of a sense of humility. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
Your simple, humble interest is appealing to people. They will often be drawn to it. As you allow your Holy Spirit-guided curiosity to enter into conversations, you will find the door is opened to ask more profound questions—questions that activate curiosity in others that leads them to pursue life-changing answers for themselves.
Prayer: Lord, help us to remove the barriers in our lives that prevent the spark of your holy curiosity from becoming a flame—preoccupation with ourselves, the busy-ness of our lives that leads to apathy about others. Give us the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who sought to understand, to know, and to love.