WEEK 7: Watch Ya’ Mouth!
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, NIV)
Our ministry team had the opportunity to have some quiet time in a beautiful wooden chapel on a farm at the foot of a mountain just more than a year ago. We were led in praise and worship and could sit quietly to talk to the Lord. Upon leaving, you could light a candle at the back of the chapel and there was the most beautiful and intricate wood carving of the Last Supper against the wall where you could take communion before you exited.
I felt so close to God and I remember standing there, hoping and wishing the Lord would have some ‘special words of wisdom’ for me while I was lighting a candle … but nothing came to me. After taking communion, I bowed my head to pray when my eyes caught a bright red fire extinguisher in the corner just to the left of me … and then the words came clearly: “Don’t be the fire extinguisher!”
I immediately thought of something one of our dear friends who used to live in the Middle East had shared with us. It was the story in 1 Samuel 1, where we read that Elkanah took his two wives, Hannah and Peninnah, to Shiloh every year to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. I am sure they were all excited to go on this special trip. Unfortunately, Peninnah behaved in a way that had Hannah crying and with no appetite every time. I don’t know if she was even able to praise and worship the Lord, because of the state she was in.
Our friend told us that we, as Christians, need to be extra careful with our words and our actions, because sometimes we can be the ‘Peninnahs’ who might keep other ‘Hannahs’ from seeking and worshiping the Lord because of the way we make them feel. May we be kind and loving to all – looking for opportunities to show God’s love and extend grace and forgiveness where needed – and may we not be fire extinguishers who snuff out the flames of others around us.
“Wherever God has put you, that is your vocation. It is not what we do but how much love we put into it.” – Mother Theresa