You may not believe this, but I know it for a fact: God speaks through the telephone.
Many years ago, I was putting together a talk on having a gentle spirit. As usual, I searched for appropriate verses and found many that applied to both men and women. But since I was preparing to speak to women, I typed 1 Peter 3:3-4 into my notes:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)
I then wrote, “Ladies, we must pray earnestly and daily for a gentle and quiet spirit.”
I leaned back in my chair and gazed at the life-changing words I had just typed. The cursor blinked like a heartbeat on the screen. Then, as every Christian writer and speaker should do, I prayed. “Oh, God, what do You want me to say next? What words of wisdom do you want me to share with these women?”
The phone rang.
Now, I don’t know about you, but God had never called me on the telephone, so I didn’t see it as a welcomed interruption.
“Is Gary Skeleton there?”
Grrrr. A telemarketer. I could feel my blood pressure rising. In case you haven’t noticed, my name is Skel-ton, not Skel-e-ton. I didn’t even try to hide my frustration. “There’s no Gary Skeleton here!”
So she spelled it for me. “There’s no G-A-R-Y Skeleton there?”
“There are no skeletons in this house!” I yelled, and slammed down the phone. Grumble . . . grumble . . . grumble. How dare she call at this very moment, when I’m trying to hear from God?
My eyes refocused on the screen, and there, pulsating in rhythm to my heart, were the incriminating words, “Ladies, we must pray earnestly and daily for a gentle and quiet spirit.”
I guess you could say God called me on the phone that day. He called to tell me I’d better keep praying–because I was a long way from achieving the spirit He was looking for!
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus says to come to Him because He is gentle and humble of heart. Gentle. Humble. Hmmm. I don’t know about you, but there are many times people would categorize me as anything BUT gentle and humble. In all honesty, there are times that words like selfish, self-centered, and know-it-all come to mind. When I sincerely look at my life and my attitudes, I’m saddened to see the many times I’m so far from gentle and humble.
Not exactly a picture of Jesus.
In this day of filling every moment with “stuff” and rushing here and there in an effort to get it all done, what does the world see (or hear) when they come in contact with us? Are we so busy that we miss the opportunity to be a gentle representation of Jesus? Are we so busy trying to get more events or more publishing credits that we miss the divine appointments God has for us to be an encouragement to someone else?
Oh, how sad it would be to gain success in the eyes of the world…while tromping over the very ones God planned for us to reach. If we truly love Jesus and hope to point others to Him, we must take on His character. We must be gentle and humble.
Maybe some of you are like me, and you weren’t born with a natural gentle-and-quiet-spirit bone in your body. That’s no excuse. But the good news is, we can all develop those special bones. And we must.
When the rejections come and the opportunities go; when the funds are low and the cost is high; when those we’ve been mentoring suddenly dash past us on the speaking ministry road, can we be gentle and humble and genuinely happy?
Yes, we can. Because we want to be like Jesus…and He’s gentle and humble in heart.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,
(Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)