And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. Mark 5:18-20
This is the passage that has been encouraging me in my mind, and spurring me to action as I consider how to talk about spiritual things with my neighbors. I’ve been asking myself, “Self, what has God done for you? How has he had compassion on you?” These have been good, challenging thoughts.
Because most of the neighbor mothers work full time, they have teased me about being able to do everything, and be so calm about life. I could smile and talk about my personality, or point out that one has more time if one doesn’t work full time. I could inform them the things I don’t accomplish– the struggle with laundry, with keeping the floors clean, with organizing the office that still has papers and books across the floor. I could tell them that I have hard things in my life, too, so they realize I’m not so different as they think. I’ve tried some of these awkward, not-sure-what-to-say, responses.
I am realizing that all those things are still self-focused and unsatisfying. How has God had compassion on me, and what great thing has he done? This passage helps me know what to say! Is the difference really personality? that they don’t know my struggles? Or is the God of peace at work in my life? That’s the truth I need to communicate. It is my salvation that gives me peace. God is sufficient, even when I am insufficient. This truth is immensely comforting to me. The difference is not that I’m more sufficient than my neighbors, although this is what they think right now. God makes the difference, and it is this truth that I have been trying to communicate.
And, as God often does, he points out quietly that I must be teaching these things to my children as I seek to evangelize them. They too need to know what God has done for me, and how he has had compassion on me.
How is God’s Word changing you this week? Anything big or small that you’re putting into practice? That’s wisdom!
Great reminder Michelle. I too often think of how what to say to the neighbors and many times I come home from a visit with a friend and think, I could have given credit to God for such and such that came up but I didn’t. Sometimes I find it awkward sounding to say, “Well, thanks for saying that, but it’s really God in my life that is the reason for that”. I should though. It should be natural and normal. I’ve been thinking about how to communicate God’s sufficiency better with the God’s verbally. Not “teaching time” or lecturing them, but just in the middle of situations, giving God credit for finding my keys, or even saying it’s God’s grace that is keeping me from losing my temper right now, or telling them I feel insufficient to deal with a situation, but thankfully, God is sufficient for all things. I need to do better with this. I want it to roll off my tongue instead of having to think about it or worse, lamenting that I should have done it.