Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2 Corinthians 6:4-6 -- On Ministering to Each Other

"But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,"
2 Corinthians 6:4-6

Paul goes on after this and says even more amazing things... but I wanted to pause here and look at these verses.  As we go forward in our lives, ministering to each other, these are some good things to think about and perhaps find some specific things to focus on.  Paul talks first about patience, and some of the reasons that we need it.  We all are afflicted and distressed sometimes.  Sometimes the things that happen to us are external, and sometimes we afflict ourselves in a way, when we watch over a loved one, or when we fast.  One of the ways that we have patience through all of that is by developing some Christlike qualities that Paul lists here as well.  And as I read this list, I wonder if we get better at these things, if our patience will improve.  It seems like some good strategies.  I think longsuffering isn't just suffering for a long time, but it's more of a way of dealing with things.  Instead of reacting badly when someone says something hurtful, or even if someone does something hurtful, we remain calm, and deal with the situation normally.  This de-escalates arguments and attacks really quickly, if we can resist that initial urge to lash out or strike back.  Having the Holy Ghost with us helps us to remember that we have other options as well.  We don't have to lose hope in any situation, because God is there, helping us.  And of course other things which are much clearer: pureness, knowledge, kindness, love.  I really like the "unfeigned" part.  We can't fake our way through ministering and serving each other.  You can tell if I come over to comfort you and I don't really want to be there.  And I can tell if you are doing that too.  If we want to really build a society where we have the support of everyone else, we have to learn to love each other sincerely, and give of ourselves freely.  We have to learn... about God, about ourselves, about others.  We have to study the gospel, learn how to be pure, learn better how to be kind.  Change our hearts and our whole selves to be more kind, and loving, and open.  And we will get there as we continue to work on it, because God won't ever stop helping us improve.  The only way to fail is to stop trying. :)  Today, let's continue to try... let's reach farther and learn more.  Let's build Zion through serving and loving each other.

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