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Worthy lives: humility, gentleness and patience

March 23, 2024

Daily Scripture

Ephesians 4:1-4, 15-16

1 Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope.

15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

This passage defined “worthy” lives through key principles for people who worship (and often work, study, serve or give) together. The principles are vital for families, who spend their whole life living under the same roof. Tension and conflicts inevitably arise in every such relationship for one simple reason: we are different. But Ephesians said diversity was God’s plan. It spoke of “accepting each other with love.” Those are key choices if you want to “live as people worthy of the call you received from God.” Scholar N. T. Wright captured the nature of that call: “At every moment, in every decision, with every word and action, they are to be aware that the call to follow Jesus the Messiah, and give him their complete loyalty, takes precedence over everything else. In particular, this must lead them back again and again to celebrate their unity, to maintain and guard it.” *

  • In all your relationships, can you see the ways that the differences between people, when valued and respected, bring depth, richness, and strength (even when they also pose challenges)? It is a fact that many times differences play a big role in drawing people together, as each one can add a dimension another may be lacking. How can valuing, honoring, and celebrating the strength that grows from our differences help to keep you from building relationship-destroying walls of separation? The passage also said one of the ways to help each other grow (in the church, and certainly in any family) is “speaking the truth in love.” Which do you find harder with those you relate to regularly: speaking the truth at all, or doing so in love? What can help you grow toward maturity in both of those dimensions?

Lord Jesus, make me a worthy friend and family member who always speaks the truth, but who only speaks it in love. And help me to listen in that spirit as well as speak. Amen.

GPS Insights

Madeline Harvey

Madeline Harvey is an eighth-grade confirmation student at the Church of the Resurrection’s Leawood Campus. Outside of church her activities include playing in her school orchestra, taking ballet classes, participating in a book club at her school, as well as participating in the Scouting BSA program.

I’m usually pretty good at acting with humility, gentleness, and patience. I have always prided myself on being patient. While going fishing, I can sit on the dock and wait for a fish to bite for a long time. But, after trying to write this reflection for forty-five minutes, and only managing to write four sentences, I was very frustrated. That was at about 4:30 PM last Saturday. I decided to wait until Monday to finish writing this. (I had plans on Sunday.)

Saturday happened to be the day my dad and little sister were working on a big paint project. They were painting the hallway bathroom’s sink blue. They took a break to let the paint dry, during which our family ate dinner and hung out for a while. Then, at about 8:00 PM, they decided to give the cabinets under the sink their second coat of paint. Most of the painting was taking place in the narrow hallway next to the bathroom that separates the bedrooms from the rest of the house. I knew once they started painting again I would not be able to get across them to my room, so I quickly slipped into my room to get ready for bed. It was then that I realized my sister and I did not have clean bed covers. That day, my mom had chosen to clean them. She had put them in the washer and forgotten about them.

Now, my mom was stuck on the other side of the house. My room is, fortunately, right next to the laundry room, so I could successfully get the covers from the washer to the dryer. My mom shouted at me across the hall to set a 20-minute timer. At the end of the 20-minute timer, I was to take the bed covers out of the dryer and untangle them from each other. After that, I was to put them back in the washer and repeat the process twice. I set the first 20-minute timer and proceeded to wait. I was watching the paint dry-–literally. It made me so impatient. After a few minutes, I found myself wondering what I could do to pass the time.

Then, I found the answer. Wasn’t I writing a reflection for a devotional about being humble, gentle, and patient? I got to work. I wrote and wrote. I handled the laundry and made my bed, and I wrote some more. I went to bed. I was busy on Sunday, but I continued writing on Monday. From this, I have learned that it is hard to be patient, but rewarding when you are. I took the time I had and used it to be productive. I have also learned to be humble. I will think twice before bragging to anyone about being patient–or anything else! As for being gentle–that’s another story.

It pays to conduct yourself with humility, gentleness, and patience. Try it yourself!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Wright, N.T., Paul for Everyone, The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 43). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.