Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Let your gentleness be evident to all

Let your gentleness be evident to all (Phil. 4:5)

What makes Billy Graham and John Stott so special?

Well, I have never met either of them.  I have a load of John Stott books and have read a couple of Billy Graham's (his autobiography, which I thought spent too much time on US Presidents, and his very good book on the Holy Spirit).  I suppose you could say that Stott had a great brain and that Billy Graham was granted great 'unction' (his impact on an audience went beyond his capabilities as a preacher).

But I like to think that the thing what made them great was their godliness.  It's only a hunch, but I believe that these two had time for people.  I suspect that had you approached either of them with a worry they would have been willing to stop with you.  As someone who struggles with anxiety I am glad for friends who have shown such gentleness and patience with me.

I love the fact that Jesus was approachable and that he had time for people.  I love the fact that children could approach him (in an age where they weren't molly-coddled as they are now) (Luke 18:16).  I love the fact that when Jesus encountered the grieving widow at Nain 'his heart went out to her' (Luke 7:13).  I love the fact that when a crowd disturbed his plans to get some solitary time 'he had compassion on them and healed their sick' (Matthew 14:14).  I love the fact that he had compassion of them when they got hungry (Matthew 15:32).  I love the fact that he looked down from the cross and made provisions for his mother (John 19:26).  I love the fact that when he saw a leaderless crowd 'he had compassion of them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd'  (Matthew 9:36).  I love the fact that he told a story about the compassionate father (Luke 15:20).  I love the fact that when he contemplated the judgement that was to come upon Jerusalem he was moved with sorrow and quoted those gracious words 'how often I have longed to gather you up as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing (Matthew 23:37). 

A bruised reed he will not break (Matthew 12:20).  Jesus' gentleness was evident to all.  May ours be too!

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