Command everyone in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them… Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. – 2 Timothy 2: 14, 23-24
One of the best things about being a writer is the thinking part, the collecting of my thoughts. I always begin in prayer, reading scripture, a devotional time with Rebekah, and – often – just sitting to reflect. This morning’s “feature” photograph highlights my favorite contemplative place in our home, just off the kitchen, looking out onto the deck and the wooded area behind the house.
It doesn’t matter what is going on, the extent of the work piled up on your plate, how many hurricanes are bearing down… there is always immeasurable benefit to getting the day under way in the presence – and the perspective – of God.
I think that’s the idea at the root of the words from 2 Timothy, above (We’re reading the book together in the Wednesday evening men’s study group). I can see the writer shaking his head in a kind of exasperation at how far off the mark we are when we get caught up in arguments about words.
The question that does matter is this: Have we responded positively to the invitation Jesus offers to walk in a renewed relationship with God? Are we invested in that relationship? Are we so filled with light and love that it spills over and out and through us into the lives of others?
When we choose to follow Jesus every new day, living out from that transformative orientation, then fights, disputes, proving points, and arguments are nothing more than a distraction from what really matters, and that is living in love.
How can it be of any consequence to be “right” when Christ’s invitation is – always – to serve one another in love? I’m not sure that your stance – or mine – on any given social or doctrinal issue is ever more important than our responsibility to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Jesus – Mark 12:30-31).
So take this as a challenge. Launch each new day in the context of a renewed decision to follow Jesus, and then live out of a center – a heart – overflowing with Christ’s kind of compassion, grace, mercy, and love.
In love, and because of love – DEREK