1999-03-06 - Small Courtesies
Ephesians 5:1,2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
A man named William Wirt once wrote his daughter a letter. He was trying to share some fatherly advice. His words are some that we could all stand to hear. He said to her:
"The whole world is like the miller at Mansfield, 'who cared for nobody, - no, not he,-- because nobody cared for him.' And the whole world would serve you so if you gave them some cause. Let everyone, therefore, see that you do care for them, by showing them what Sterne so happily called the small courtesies, in which there is no parade, whose voice is too still to tease, and which manifest themselves by tender and affectionate looks and little acts of attention, giving others the preference in every little enjoyment, at the table, in the field, walking, sitting, and standing."
Many people we come in contact with, (if you think a little you know you know them), are a little rough around the edges. They are probably like the miller in the above quote, they care little because they perceive that few care very much for them. Christ calls us to love them.
Others, with whom we have regular contact, might be civil but seem rather distant. A friendly wave, a well timed hello, or a "nice to see you" will get us past them without having to "really" talk to them. Christ calls us to love them more than that.
The father's advice to his daughter is something we should harken unto. Let us make sure everyone sees that we do care for them. Let us show them small courtesies, and not make a big deal about it. Let us smile and listen with an interested and willing heart to hear the things that might be shared.
Think about how Christ treated the woman with the alabaster vial. (Matt. 26:6-13, Luke 7:37-39). He knew she was a woman who had morals that were in the gutter, but He was gracious to her and did not hesitate to let her associate with Him and serve Him
Over and over, we see Christ going to the leper, or the demon possessed, or the infirm and listening and caring for them. Such should be our habit. We should develop the habit of showing small courtesies to those about us.
Giving others preference is not an easy task. It will remain a life long challenge to anyone who takes such a obligation seriously. But it is the pattern of Christ, it is the pattern left for us to emulate, and it is one way that we can show the love of Christ, known so freely to us, to a dying and lost world.
Soli Deo Gloria,