March 31, 2015 By: Don Mills
Seeking the True and the Noble
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Phillipians 4:8-9. NIV
Our environment is full of noise. Not just sounds but hundreds of messages that are telling us how to best live a “successful” life. We are encouraged to “Learn how to use social media, tell your story in 140 characters, keep connected, develop your personal brand.” Media stream images that assault our senses detailing war, famine, politics, hunger. Everyday someone is telling us how to get rich, how to be winners, how to live. Violence is no stranger to our culture. Sociologists and other commentators have discussed the coarsening of discourse and ultimately of our culture.
In the middle of this cacophony Jesus calls us to be faithful servants and stewards of his word. In all respects we are what we do and what we think. We are bombarded by conflicting messages. All around us there is talk about liberty, freedom, individual rights. But often there is no talk about how God wants us to live vis-à-vis others, the expectation God has of us in our relationships with others. We forget that all of us are successful because of the foundation laid by others whether it is our parents who sacrificed for us, our teachers and mentors who guide us, our friends who “have our back.” As stewards our lives are meant to be instruments that not only serve God’s will for us but assure that God’s will is met for others.
Rather than focusing on the messages that surround us, Paul encourages us to respond to our culture with the true and noble. Easier said than done. It requires a reservoir of inner strength to find the beauty and integrity in our lives each day. It requires us to develop the habit of reflection, to use our talents to be the voice of God, to seek justice, and to provoke excellence. It is essentially a response to culture that celebrates our place in the community of believers on the highest levels of our collective humanity. Isn’t that what the celebration of the life and resurrection of Jesus is ultimately all about?
God, our creator help us to be our best, to be creative, to be courageous. Let us recognize within ourselves that which is noble and pure and lovely, but more importantly, let us constantly share the excellent and praiseworthy with our colleagues and communities. May we be open to the strength that is available to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.