FRIDAY 1st MAY 2020
Good morning friends,
On the fellowship web-page the opening strap line is, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) an invitation to come into the presence of Jesus, where we can find healing and comfort and restoration.
And invitation which is at the heart of all we want to bring to those who visit us here at Braehead House.
An invitation which is so important for all of us to hear and act upon during these days where so many are feeling burdened.
The next verse in the gospel is equally important for us to hear, Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29)
So far over the past few days, we’ve explored the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness, and now is the turn of gentleness. It may be one of the final items on the list, but gentleness is probably one of the most important.
Gentleness is defined in the dictionary as “the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered.” In terms of the fruit of the Spirit, the kind of gentleness involves showing humility and thankfulness towards God, as well as, restrained and compassionate behaviour towards everyone else.
Gentleness is a gift of the Spirit; it is produced when a softened heart abides in Jesus.
Gentleness may be a gift, but true gentleness also demands something from us: intention.
We are to be intentionally kind, compassionate, and humble towards others, especially when they are facing struggle or difficulty.
It’s easy to be gentle when we are around those who were care for, and who care about us in return. But to do the same for strangers, or people who hurt us?
This is where gentleness is often confused with weakness. We don't like appearing weak, before, we forget that showing a gentle attitude can instead be a sign of strength.
When I was in the parish, I worked two days a week in our soup kitchen. It was a time when a charity named Street Football started up, its mission, TO HELP END YOUTH HOMELESSNESS THROUGH THE POWER OF FOOTBALL. A team was formed from those who came to the soup kitchen, to great success, they actually won the Scottish Cup.
At that time, recognizing the benefits to health and well being of regular training and outdoor activity, another group was set up in our area, it was a walking group.
The young men were kitted out with outdoor walking gear, jackets, sock, walking boots and all was going well, as twice a week the group met to do local walks.
The walking gear was kept down at the hall, and one day a young man asked if he could not keep the gear at his house to save always coming to ask for the key to get in.
In my naivety I said yes.........and unfortunately, and very mysteriously, the very next week the young man reported that his house had been broken into and all the walking clothing stolen.
I had my doubts, and admit, I was devastated at the seeming breach of trust............The local charity who had supplied the clothing were furious, and it's representative wanted to call the police..........however, I managed to persuade her not to follow that through and I replaced the stolen goods.
You see I had a soft heart for these young men.............and in my heart of hearts I did not want to bring any condemnation down upon them.
The next week, they were astonished to find all the goods replaced, and all I said was, here’s another chance to do what’s right and best for your well being, off you go and enjoy today’s walk.
There were those who thought I was foolish, throwing good money after bad........ and maybe I was, but......................
I am reminded of the encounter with a woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11, The Pharisees were begging Jesus to lose His temper with her, and took their chance to remind Him that Mosaic Law said that this woman should be stoned When asked what he himself would say, He simply said, ".anyone of you who is without sin, come and throw the first stone"
He then spoke gently to the woman, saying, "go,sin no more.”
Jesus intentionally shows an act of gentleness. Jesus’ words to the woman and his avoidance of violence and self-righteousness are, in effect, how God wants us to be with others. Rather than condemning them and bolstering our own sense of pride, He wants us to demonstrate the power of his love with a gentle word of truth.
Our world may be a harsh place, but we soften it when we follow His teachings and work for His kingdom.
Gentleness is the fruit of the Spirit that demands a lot from us.
It requires humility and sacrifice, patience and compassion – qualities that we might feel that we lack (even on our best days).
But the good news? God shows us the way. His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, and He never gives us gifts that we can’t use.
May God bless you this new day.
God bless you this day.