I am now on Instagram, even though I’m still not quite sure what it is. I’ve always thought it was a place to post pictures of babies, dogs, and prom dates.
If you happen to know what it is and are on it, I hope you will follow me here.
I waited in my grocery pickup spot at Walmart for twenty minutes.
My grocery order was ready, according to the app. This was the grocery order that was supposed to have been ready three hours earlier.
I watched as I waited. Angry people got out of their cars demanding groceries and answers. They didn’t want to spend their Saturday in the parking lot either.
The winds were howling, things were swirling in the air, and all of us wished we were somewhere else, doing something else. Then my order arrived.
The person in the car next to me jumped out and demanded to know why I was getting my order when they had pulled into their spot before I had pulled into mine.
That’s when I noticed the face of the young man delivering my groceries.
The young man was gripping the cart and had to lock the wheels because the wind was blowing it around. He tried to explain that my order had been scheduled for pickup three hours earlier and orders were running way behind that day. He was cursed at before the angry person pulled away. Quickly, two cars fought for the newly emptied spot next to me.
I got lucky that day. I was as cranky as the person in the car next to me. I had better things to do with my day than wait for a bunch of groceries.
Then I saw my own attitude acted out in front of me.
And I saw the face of the young man, who wasn’t to blame, being blamed.
I got lucky that day because God gave me a chance to change my attitude before I spoke.
The young man quickly put the groceries in the back of my car, trying to get his job done, and go on to the next person. Out of all the angry people in that parking lot, he had the right to be the angriest. Instead, he looked beaten down. He had just been cursed at because he came to work that day.
I got lucky because I was given the chance to change my attitude before it was my turn to speak.
The Bible says, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14:19). Christians aren’t told to wish for peace; we’re told to pursue it.
You’ve heard the familiar saying, “You get what you look for.” God told us to chase after peace. Pursue those things that cause and create mutual upbuilding.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9, emphasis added).
I wrote this blog post in my head as I drove home.
Chase peace, not privilege
The news this week is tough.
Our country relaxed our attitudes and now COVID is once again the lead story. Last spring, they told us the fall months would bring a second wave. We shouldn’t be surprised, but we seem to be. Americans are used to our freedoms and used to doing and having what we think we deserve.
The person in the car next to me thought she deserved her groceries first. I thought I deserved my groceries three hours before I got them. The young man hauling our food deserved our gratitude. None of us were getting what we deserved.
Americans are a privileged people, and we chase our privileges. God’s word tells us to chase peace, not privilege. “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
All of us sat in our comfortable cars, impatient because our grocery orders were delayed. Meanwhile, a young man pushed a cart in the wind and unloaded our food into our cars—and we thought we deserved something better.
I looked at the young man’s face and realized he was doing his best and no one thought that was good enough.
The next couple of months might seem like things aren’t good enough. The holidays are going to be different. The holidays this year should be different, if you want them to be safe.
Are we chasing God’s peace for our present reality, or do we feel like we deserve something better?
Chase peace as a priority
The highest priority for the next few months is to keep people safe until they can be vaccinated. All of us are tired of waiting. Some will get the vaccine first and others will be forced to wait. Everyone will need to “pursue peace,” but only some will.
Today is a good day to make your choice.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). God’s children are blessed when they make peace. Creating peace in this world is our Christian priority.
Why is peacemaking our job?
That question is answered by Jesus’ half brother, James, the same brother who probably argued with Jesus about his preaching in Mark 3. James later wrote that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18).
Christians are tasked with making peace, not wishing for it. Our blessing, our eternal reward, and our “harvest of righteousness” result from that priority.
Are you peaceful and content with your blessings these days, or wishing for something more?
Let’s not wait for a vaccine to bring us peace. Let’s pursue peace now.
We are children of God, tasked with peacemaking. Our blessing will be a harvest of righteousness.
Who will be right with God because we choose to pursue peace?
Chase peace as an opportunity
When I met the eyes of the young man loading my groceries, he quickly looked away. I think he thought I was going to complain about the long wait.
Truthfully, if I hadn’t seen him get “cursed,” I might have missed an opportunity.
Instead of venting about the inconvenience, I was able to speak some words of peace, gratitude, and compassion. I got lucky that day. I was given the opportunity to witness someone else’s sin so I could recognize my own. I was given the opportunity to serve the Lord’s purpose.
When the young man’s eyes looked up again, I was able to see a tired smile and I was blessed.
All of us have opportunities ahead, especially in the next couple of months. This is a good day to decide how we are going to “pursue peace” in a season that is about peace.
We don’t pursue peace by hoping for it.
We are called to “make peace” for the sake of others and for ourselves.
When you chase peace, you chase God
I will close this blog with the words Paul wrote to close his second letter to Corinth: “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
The next few months are an opportunity.
Let’s commit to being peacemakers in a culture that desperately needs peace.
Paul reminds us that when we aim at peace, we are literally seeking the presence of God.
Don’t hope for peace; make peace. “And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
I lived Paul’s words while driving home with all my groceries.
As it turned out, I didn’t have anything better to do that day.
P.S. Have you signed up for my bible study, Foundations of Faith, yet?
It’s not too late, we just released another lesson!
Visit https://www.janetdenisonbiblestudy.com/ to sign up for this study, if you’ve already signed up you can login and access the newest video too.