I often talk about ‘.people of peace’. People sometimes ask me “What do you mean by ‘people of peace’?”
Let me tell you a story.
I ride my bike with a group of guys and a few wonderful girls. Now some of these guys are from church and they bring a wonderful generosity to our rides and chats over coffee afterwards. But most of the guys represent the general population of working men in and around the western suburbs. Most are employed but some aren’t, some are retired or semi-retired. Most are professionals in different trades – medicine, law, engineering, finance, education, dentistry, mining, consulting. Some are married, some divorced or separated. Most have kids. Some enjoy good health, others not so much.
There is one chap who I would not say I am especially close to. I have discovered that he shows a real and generous interest in me. I find that delightful and fascinating. When I am not there, he asks after me. When there is something on, he asks who is picking me up. And he calls me and volunteers to do jobs around the church. That’s right, the church looks as neat and mowed and trimmed as it does because a guy, who is not a card-carrying church man, has spent several hours of his time on Tuesday serving us practically because he has an affinity with me. My friend does not want anything from me. He is a person of peace. He is drawn to me and I don’t know why. He is generous to me and I don’t know why. He serves me and thinks of me but I don’t know why. These things characterise a person of peace.
We have opened a tentative conversation about faith and Jesus and his place in the cosmic order of things. He declares himself more of a ‘scientist’ than a faith man, as though that somehow precludes the possibility of a historic Jesus who is both God and man. I find that amusingly ironic since I had visits over two days from nine men from St Philips who are doctors who, I think, would regard themselves as scientists. I look forward to many more conversations with him about life’s journey.
What questions do you think I should ask my intriguing friend? Why does my friend do what he does?
Jesus says we do well to look out for people like my friend. We should invest there, stay there and receive there for this is the way some people come into the kingdom family. He even suggested that people who do the works of God are very near the kingdom.
People wonder what it means to listen to God. Watching what is happening around us and participating is one way we listen to God. I love your stories when you tell me about these things. I also hear folk who are just too frantic and panicked to listen to anything, as well as folk who it seems go about life shoulders hunched, fingers in ears, resisting the possibility of the voice of circumstance as one way life might be being shaped by God.
We are interesting aren’t we?
As you watch our nation and our world, what might God be doing, saying, allowing? I’m not suggesting I have any ideas but it is interesting to pray on the run, asking him and listening as we go.