Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)
I do not enjoy DIY home improvements or repairs.
No, that’s not entirely accurate. Actually, I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate DIY home improvements and repairs.
Why? Because I do not possess the skill, intellect, aptitude, or patience required for such DIY projects. My greatest fear when tackling them (reluctantly) is that in fixing the current problem, I will actually make the problem worse. I am so inept in this area that the United Nations War Crime Tribunal has preemptively determined that power tools in my hands are classified as weapons of mass destruction.
So, when the time came for some minor remodeling to be done to our kitchen to accommodate some new appliances, I chose to pay someone to come and do the work. The work involved cutting some countertops to create more space. I knew there would be some dust involved, and I was prepared for the cleanup. Or so I thought.
Nobody told me that I should turn off our air conditioner to prevent the dust from being sucked into our HVAC and then being redistributed throughout our entire house. Every. Single. Room. I couldn’t see it as it happened, but I was certainly aware of the presence of dust afterwards.
When the Apostle Paul encourages us to let our “gentleness be evident to all,” I imagine something like the dust spread throughout our house. How we live from day to day, how we interact with our co-workers and neighbors, should leave a fine dusting of gentleness and God’s glory wherever we go.
Our society is very polarized now. Politics, culture, and even religion have battle lines that are definitely drawn and fiercely defended. The concept of “agree to disagree” has been abandoned, and it is WIN AT ALL COSTS. The goal is to “own” your enemy. Yet Paul tells us very clearly that it is our gentleness—not the rightness of our point of view—that is to be evident to all.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that we are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). A little salt can go a long way. As followers of Jesus, can you just imagine the difference we could make if we chose to let our gentleness be a defining characteristic? If we just allowed God’s peace and grace to rest on others as we go about our daily routines, seasoning those around us with God’s love? The people we interact with may not recognize it in the moment, but over time it would be just as apparent—and far less annoying—than the dust that filtered through my entire house.
Help me to reflect the love and beauty of your son, Jesus, daily. We live in a climate that vilifies opposing points of view, but you have called us to be peacemakers, to season our world with your love as we live gentle lives of joy. Remind us that you are our source of abundant life, not our circumstance or our political leaders. Empower us to boldly walk by faith, to be a voice of hope, and to be known by love.
Pastor of Pastoral Care
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