Hovering over a promise to claim this morning. A promise of righteousness. Who couldn’t use a bit more righteousness — both within them and around them? But it’s one of those farming promises. You know, one of those you reap what you sow type of outcomes.
The promise? A harvest of righteousness. The seed? Peace. The source? Wisdom from above. Lot to chew on this morning.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
(James 3:17-18 ESV)
Talking with a buddy last night about the complexities of the world we live in. The issues which surround us, the lack of objective truth which destabilizes us, and the chaos created through social media which inflames us. Enough, we said, to make you think about moving to acreage on a mountain, setting up a communal compound with those of like mind, turning off your devices, and hibernating in a hermit haven. But, not really the way of being salt and light in the earth. Kind of feels like putting your light under a basket — not really encouraged by the Master (Matt. 5:13-16).
So, what’s the alternative? Engage. And this morning, I’m reminded how to engage. With the wisdom from above. (Oh, how I need wisdom from above!)
We’re not to wage war as the world does. Our weapons are not the same weapons. Our tactics are not the same tactics. Vitriol in our conversation has no place, nor any need, for those who have experienced firsthand the victory of the cross. Who understand the dynamics of sin, having ourselves once been slaves to sin, and the remedy required. Who see the signs of brokenness, ourselves having once been broken, and know the healing possible. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
No, far from entering the chaotic complexities of our time with demeaning dialogue, we do so with the wisdom from above. Pure and grounded in truth. Pacifying rather than provoking. Mild, respectful, as we rub shoulders in the public square with fellow image-bearers. Ready with a reason for the hope within us but also open to reason — willing to listen, willing to yield the floor in order to gain understanding and perspective. Our hearts primed with mercy, kindness, and goodwill toward others, truly desiring they would come to the knowledge of the truth — not just entering into debate in order to crush them. Without partiality but sincere — without bias, either towards persons or towards serving an agenda other than the agenda of the gospel.
That’s the wisdom from above. And, as I think back to lessons learned in the book of Proverbs, that Jesus is the personification of wisdom, it’s the way of the Prince of Peace who lives in us and through us.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” ~ Jesus
(Matthew 5:9 ESV)
And that’s where the promise comes in. A harvest of righteousness. Sown in peace. By those who make peace. And that through the wisdom from above.
A harvest of righteousness, at the very least, within — where we become more like Jesus even as we seek to imitate Jesus in the ways of Jesus. And, perhaps, a harvest of righteousness — only by God’s grace and through the Spirit’s transforming power — in the world around us. Even if it’s only in that small microcosm of the world around us where we touch it as salt, and offer clarity as light.
Might we sow seeds of peace in the hope of realizing the promise of a harvest of righteousness.
By His grace. For His glory.