Scripture Reading: 1Thessalonians 2:1-8
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.
–1 Thessalonians 2:1-4
The quote, Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words*, is needed as much now as ever. Our deeds matter and often speak louder than our words. Words are important too. Words can tear down, and words can lift up. Those of us who identify as Christian define Christ to others through our words and deeds just as Paul did. Empathy seems a lost art. In a diverse world we must invest the time to learn how what we do and what we say impacts the other. What might be comforting to me might cause pain to someone else.
When I arrived at an elder Pawnee woman’s home to update her case information many years ago, I found her making the most beautiful beaded baby moccasins. She said they were for her new grandbaby. There were beads across the toes that extended the length of the bottom of the tiny booty. I commented on the quality of her work and wondered if she would make some that I could buy. She was silent for a moment, finally replying, “You do not want moccasins like these. The beads on the bottom tell that my grandson will never walk on the earth. These are for his burial.” She was kind and understanding of my ignorance and she taught me the importance of empathy.
Prayer: Lord, open our hearts to glimpses of the world from the viewpoint of the people we encounter. Help us be conduits of your love as we serve in your name. Amen.
*Often attributed to St. Francis, but the author is unknown. Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/u/unknown109569.html
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.