I read a verse the other day and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s among verses about loving your enemies, but it certainly applies to anyone we encounter.
“Here is the simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them.”
I’m an initiator of plans. I invite people over and meet them for lunch. Quality time is my love language, hence my desire to get people on my calendar and disappointment when plans change.
But sometimes I get weary of being the initiator. Just recently I was feeling that way, and then a couple friends reached out even though I had no idea I was instigating an initiator pity party in my heart. I’ll take it as encourage from God to keep on doing what I’m doing because He goes with me.
And he wants us to go with peace.
Lisa-Jo Baker wrote about “shalom” in her coming-soon book “Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships.” This book is even better than I expected and I’m excited to share more of it with you.
But today I want to tell you about what she said about shalom, which is more than the absence of conflict. It’s interactive – and it’s used in the Bible more than 200 times. In her book, Baker quotes “What Is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom and the Great Commission” by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert. (I now have that book awaiting me on my Kindle.)
“The kind of shalom we’re challenged to give to the people around us requires us to take an active interest in their physical and spiritual well-being. … In addition to caring deeply about seeing conflict come to an end, shalom is passionately invested in seeking the well-being of others – other people, other places and cultures and neighbors. … Shalom is a radical word that challenges us to wake up from our obsession with ourselves and instead start the deliberate choice of focusing on the people around us …”
– Lisa-Jo Baker in “Never Unfriended”
God’s been doing a new thing around here through our small group that has a mission to serve our local community. These words about the peace that comes when we think of others before ourselves strikes me deeply because it’s the foundation of so many other things.
The ripples of truly caring about
the people around us are everlasting.
And I’m guessing we’ll be changed in the process too. Because that’s how God works. He doesn’t waste moments or relationships. He uses it all – for His glory and our good. But we certainly aren’t going to get there alone.
“We can see people as a source of influence, prominence, cool, or competition. Or we can see them as family, sisters, fellow pilgrims on the journey as we try to make sense of the everyday Tuesdays and Sundays and sadness and celebration. But we can’t do both. We can either love them or compete with them. We can either champion them or condemn them. We can either accept them or try to change them. We can either love them for who they are or try to twist them into our own image. But we can’t do both.”
– Lisa-Jo Baker in “Never Unfriended”
So let’s grab initiative and let’s bring peace to whoever is near.
Welcome, faithful #ThreeWordWednesday friends. I’ve got a little news about the weekly linkup to share. To better go along with the community happening here, the new name is Porch Stories.
I hope you love it. And I hope you continue gathering on my virtual porch so we can swap stories. You’re invited to show up with your stories about your real lives, where you’re meeting God and learning truth. You’re invited to encourage others and make friends. There’s room for you and your faith-filled stories here.
As you share posts from the linkup, use #PorchStories and be sure to update your blog button with the new code on the sidebar. Feel free to linger awhile and bring a friend along.
I did receive an advanced copy of “Never Unfriended” by Lisa-Jo Baker as a member of the launch team, but the opinions I shared here are my own – and you’re going to hear more about this book because I’m loving it. You can preorder it here or learn more about it at its own beautiful, new website.