I reviewed this book earlier this week, and although it doesn’t specifically apply to our month’s theme, Laity, the author does have some important things to say about what he calls “engaging with others.” To be successful as laypeople we must be able to get along and work well with one another. In any congregation there are differences: differences in background, education, ability, understanding and more. Sometimes these differences lead to conflict. When that happens, Gregory Spencer points to the 4th Chapter of Ephesians for a guide to “reframing” our outlook. Maybe you’ll find it helpful.
“An extended biblical passage that addresses “engaging with others” is Ephesians 4. Paul reminds his readers of what makes for a strong community. Overall we maintain unity by living peacefully (3) and fulfilling our various roles and callings (4-13). We do this by putting off the old self and putting on the new self (22-34, some obvious reframing here), feeding certain character qualities–humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love(2) industriousness (28), compassion and forgiveness(32) –and by starving sensual indulgence (17-19), extended anger, bitterness, brawling, slander and malice(31). I’m particularly taken with the admonitions to speak the truth in love (15,25) and to talk for the sake of building others up (29).”
“What matters in the end is the legacy that you leave behind. It is neither your wealth nor your various accomplishments that are the deciding factors but the seeds of love that you sowed. People will remember you for your acts of kindness, compassion, benevolence, piety, sympathy and the thoughtfulness that you had in your heart for others.”
― Latika Teotia
I recently had my first grandchild. It makes a person think even more about the legacy you want to leave for your family. The most important of these is a deep devotion to God… piety. I want my children and grandchildren to think back when I am on the other side of eternity and remember my love for God and my love for them. I want them to remember me singing songs of praise, reading Bible stories with them and applying what we read to how we are to live our lives. I want them to know that being kind, compassionate, caring, and thoughtful aren’t just things we SHOULD do…they are things we do because God shows those same things to us. All we have to do is love God and love our neighbors no matter how hard it may be. For all God has done to redeem us, it’s the best thing we can do to show our gratitude.
God loves you and so do I,
photo courtesy of howtoadult.com
Quote courtesy of latikateotia.com
I blogged recently about being a Pastor’s wife. The truth is I, and all of you, have many roles. We are mothers and wives, employees and daughters, friends and neighbors, church members and siblings. In each of these roles we have a responsibility to be God’s hands and feet in the world. On a Via de Cristo weekend, we call the team members who are serving others chas, which stands for Christ’s hands in Action. When you think of your whole life that way, it puts a different perspective on the smallest and most mundane actions.
Martin Luther, changed the whole understanding of vocation. In his time, those who had a “vocation” were the priests, nuns and monks. These people were the ones who were giving their lives to God. Luther said everyone could do this; those in religious orders were no different or better than the ordinary person who was striving to dedicate their daily life to God. Milking cows was as holy and important a role as leading the Mass.
This doesn’t mean we can go about our lives without any thought of God; instead it means that we should be thinking of God and trying to do His will ALL THE TIME. Imagine how the world would change if every one of us did this? It would put an end to a lot of cursing, gossip, insults and other kinds of careless talk. It would lead to productive employees, concerned parents, helpful neighbors and caring friends. I suspect that the harder I try to do this, the more contented and peaceful I’ll become.
The work I have in this world is the work God has given me. The roles I fulfill are the ones He chose for me. Each of them will teach me something and bring me closer to Him if I just remember who I am: a steward of the King.
The only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. Our charities should pinch and hamper us. If we live at the same level of affluence as other people who have our level of income, we are probably giving away too little.
C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)
What is your reaction to this quote? I find it challenging. I fear few of us could meet C. S. Lewis’s standard–I know I don’t.