Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 3rd grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.
Since parenthood, I’ve come to believe that New Year’s Day is mis-placed calendar-wise. With school starting & new beginnings on the horizon each fall, it seems that Labor Day would be the perfect time to launch New Year’s resolutions & new agendas for the coming 12 months. As we consider Peter’s charge we might see what he might teach us.
For students of the Bible, today’s passage makes one smile. Peter, the original “Mr. Bull in a China Shop”, is urging us to be mindful of where others are in their faith walk & be humble as we present the Gospel story. If Peter, who had every excuse to be a belligerent defender of the faith, could come to such conclusion, perhaps we, too, might take a look at how we present Christianity to others.
Fortunately, our every day experiences help us to quickly see how to not present our faith.
Consider that friend on a new diet/fitness regimen. He shares in excruciating detail his entire intense workout routine & the joys of his all grapefruit diet, all the while shaking his head as you talk about just trying to eat less & exercising more. Unfortunately, the phenomenal benefits of his new routine are weighed down by his condescending attitude. (I always loved the preacher story of the guy going through his fitness regimen: I get up at 4:00, run 5 miles, lift weights for an hour, take an ice-cold shower, & only drink health drinks all day. Wow, sounds intense. How long have you been doing this? Oh, I start tomorrow.”)
Or maybe you have the uber-environmentally conscious neighbor who inexplicably fills only one small kitchen trash bag every 2 weeks. You can’t help but notice her look of disdain as you drag out your recycle bin(s) filled with 6 plastic milk jugs, 2 pizza boxes, & 5 different kinds of cereal boxes. (With two rapidly growing boys, we just fill the feeding trough the best we can.) You may readily concur with her passion, but the judgmental attitude is a non-starter.
So how might we proceed? Two weeks ago as I was walking our beagles, Maggie & Sally, our neighbor was carefully drying the car on his driveway. He had just washed it by hand & was now taking some towels & wiping down the entire car. It wasn’t his car. It was his son’s car. His son, who had graduated from high school last May, was going to be off to college this fall. When asked when his son would take off, he paused & replied, “In just a few hours.” This simple act of washing the car wasn’t filled with bravado or self-glory. He was simply displaying agape’ love for his son (while perhaps busying himself to keep his emotions in check).
Perhaps we could just listen, as our colleague discusses their faith & their questions – no talking points or interjections, just listening. Possibly we could share an example of Christian love for others by asking them to join us for Sacred Steps. Or like our neighbor, maybe we could demonstrate agape’ love & humbly offer our talents & gifts in some form of service to Christ.
As our youngsters start their next journey in learning this season, perhaps we could do some learning ourselves & strive to discover new ways to share the story of Christ & His love to those in our midst. The countdown for our “new” year has started; let’s make some resolutions. 10…9….8…7…
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.