As our District Superintendent Rev. Terry Fleming pointed out in his sermon yesterday, begging is not something any of us want to do. It feels demeaning. We’ll ask. Some will command. Some just do whatever they think is right with the hopes that others will follow suit. But, few of us will beg. If we were to beg, it would be for the most significant of reasons.
St. Paul was willing to beg the Ephesians to live a life worthy of the calling to which they were called because it was of tremendous significance to him and, more importantly, to the Kingdom of God. What would such a life include?
Good news – Paul immediately tell us: humility and gentleness, patience, forbearance, and willingness to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3). Rev. Fleming encouraged us to live out these traits to show the world what is Christian community by living into our highest calling – Jesus’ disciples.
Because these attributes matter so much that Paul would humble himself to the point of begging us to live them out, they surely deserve our taking time to reflect on them. Here’s an exercise that might help…
Humility is _______________________ (either look up a definition or consider how you define it), so today I will practice humility in this way_______________________ (an act you will do today).
Gentleness is _______________________, so I will practice gentleness in this way _______________________.
Patience is _______________________, so I will practice patience in this way _______________________.
Forbearance is _______________________, so I will practice forbearance in this way _______________________.
Maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace is _______________________, so I will maintain unity in this way _______________________.
For the sake of Christ, who makes us one, and to honor St. Paul who begged us to live a life worthy of such a high calling, let’s keep learning and practicing these important attributes of those who follow Jesus.