We need to be people who pour ourselves into other people. We can pour ourselves into our kids. We can pour ourselves into youth. We can pour ourselves into our contemporaries. But just as Paul poured himself into Timothy, we need to pour ourselves into others. It is a spiritual investment. We want to impart what we have learned, both from our knowledge and our experience, into someone else, so that we can pass the torch and keep the flame going just like the olympic runners who start the ceremonies. But it is an investment, because those in whom we pour ourselves become our life-long friends and partners in the faith. We do not each stand alone like lone wolves. No, we need to be part of the wolf pack. Christians need to stick together. By investing in others, we invest in ourselves; by investing in ourselves, we invest in the group. If you are not pouring yourself into someone right now, look for the opportunity to invest your faith, knowledge, and experience. Help build up others in order to help build up God’s kingdom.
We need to be people who are gracious, merciful, and peaceful, not in our own right, but because of God and the power he has given us. That is right: he gave us the power to be gracious, merciful, and peaceful, not power to fight and physically overpower our foes. God has been gracious with us by sending his Son, the true gift of God, to save us from our sin. God has been merciful with us by washing away our sin by the blood of Christ. And God has been peaceful with us by relating to us through Jesus, who is our peace, our propitiation of our sins, and so appeases God’s wrath against us. If God is gracious, merciful, and peaceful with us, how can we expect not to be the same towards others? We must follow the example he has given to us. His Holy Spirit empowers us in this way of life. Left to our own strength, we could not complete this task. It is evident in the world just how depraved we truly are as human beings. But God has called us to a holy calling. In Christ, we are to be truly human as Christ was truly human, which means that we must be gracious, merciful, and peaceful towards each other. Be gracious when others harm your reputation, showing them mercy and maintaining peace. Be gracious when others disagree with your opinion or perspective. Don’t quarrel about it, and in so doing disrupt the peace. Show them mercy. We don’t want to do further injury to others who hear our arguments and disputes. If we are gracious, merciful, and peaceful people, we will reduce the additional injury of nearby bystanders. We will reduce the additional injury between the disputing parties. We will reduce the damage that would have ensued not just to the individuals, but also to God’s kingdom. By being gracious, merciful, and peaceful, we are investing in the protection of his kingdom.
Let’s build up God’s kingdom by investing in others, but let’s also help protect God’s kingdom by being gracious, merciful, and peaceful.