Let us pray: Dear Savior, today we ask You to slow down the pace of the rat race we all find ourselves in. Slow it down by instilling in each of us a kind and considerate heart. Slow it down by reminding us that heaven is our real home so that we need not get too attached to the here and now. Slow it down by giving us a forgiving spirit toward others—just as You have forgiven us. And when all this is done by Your gracious hand, fill us with a profound appreciation for the simple things of life which give so much fulfillment. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO RENEWS US DAY BY DAY
TEXT: Titus 3: 1-8
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
You can learn a lot from talking with a 97 year old lady! Although we live in a culture that glorifies youth and puts children on a pedestal, age does have its advantages. The chief advantage being wisdom. O, I know that wisdom is forgotten, mocked, overlooked, and ignored in our culture. Nonetheless, wisdom is what creates true happiness. For wisdom sees the whole forest and not merely a few trees. Wisdom is what puts the ups and downs of passion and emotionalism in its place. Wisdom shows us what is good, noble, true, and praiseworthy. It reveals what’s really important in life—the things that stand the test of time.
When I visited our oldest member this past week, we got on the topic of how inconsiderate people are. We both agreed that the “me-first” thoughtlessness of so many is a direct result of the stress, frustration, and hectic pace of our modern society. And although I’m half her age, that 97 year old lady and I both longed for the days gone by when manners and a considerate nature were qualities to be cherished and admired instead of ignored.
And this brings us to our lesson, written by St. Paul to pastor Titus. Put in modern terms, he tells us here that:
GOD WANTS THE UNCOMMON TO BECOME COMMON
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show humility toward all men.”
Let’s key in on that word “considerate.” Exactly what does it mean to be considerate? If you examine a Greek/English lexicon, a rich meaning is revealed. It conveys the meaning of: clemency, gentleness, graciousness. It means being kind and yielding to another. In other words, a considerate person is one that actually practices forgiveness. One that puts the very best construction on what others say and do. One that never lashes out to revenge a wrong or a hurt. One that thinks of others first by practicing the golden rule of: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And we’re told here that we should not just act that way toward our friends, but “toward all men.”
Lately we’ve seen many examples of inconsiderate people. They range from baseball players who instigate fights to surly people in check-out lines to those road warriors who engage in road rage. The media delights in playing “gotcha” with celebrities by always reporting the very worst of human behavior. The internet has given a whole new meaning to slander. O I know we try to teach our kids to say “please and thank-you.” But, more often than not, those words have to be coaxed instead of flowing naturally. This modern epidemic of inconsiderateness can be seen in everything from litter to vandalism to the taunts of the school-yard bully. And in the end it makes us no better than animals, indeed, worse than animals because at least they have the sense not to foul their own nest!
God is not a God of chaos. He’s not a Lord of disorder, graffiti, hateful words, or fist-fights. And He well knows that such behavior only brings unhappiness and discontent into our lives. No, God has a better idea for us! He wants us to be happy. He wants us to put a smile on another’s face for thereby our lives are made richer and more complete. So, St. Paul now addresses this when he writes: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” When you reach your golden years and your life winds down, don’t you want to look back on something positive? Don’t you want to know that you’ve made a difference and had a wholesome influence on others? If so, then admit your own inconsiderate nature now and then work on changing it! Get rid of the negative garbage that corrupts your life—get rid of it now! Turn over a new leaf! Make the uncommon—common!
How? You ask. By embracing Christ as your Savior! “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”
By nature you and I practice consideration towards those who are considerate towards us—at least sometimes. But, of course, the problem with that is it’s a closed loop. That is, if we’re always waiting for someone else to show such a forgiving spirit first, nothing much happens and very few are positively influenced. Thank God that He didn’t and doesn’t operate that way! No, in pure love He was totally considerate towards us. He saved us in Christ purely out of love. We didn’t deserve it. We didn’t do anything to earn such eternal kindness. But in Christ, God showed us His considerate heart. He forgave us our sins by having Jesus die for them. He washed us in baptism to give us a new nature. He renewed us by the Spirit by putting generosity and kindness into our hearts.
In our rather crass culture we weigh everything on the basis of power and money. But, as Jesus says: “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and yet forfeit his own soul?” No, Godly profitability comes from uplifting others instead of tearing them down. It comes from a considerate nature, born of faith, which influences others for good instead of evil by putting a smile on their face. It comes from genuine caring for blood-bought souls which is nothing more or less than simply being considerate.
All of us would admit that when such a spirit touches us, we’re genuinely surprised. Why? Because it is very rare and uncommon. Well, rare and uncommon things are also very valuable. So, show your priceless worth by striving to make the uncommon common! Share the wealth of God’s love for you! Amen