“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5
When in Disney World, you do what you do in order to see the “wow face” on your kids. You know the “wow face,” right? If you are a parent you do. It’s that look that says, “I cannot believe I am seeing what I am seeing right now and am literally about to burst out of my skin with excitement.” It’s coming down stairs on Christmas morning. It’s seeing the Birthday cake decorated just for you. It’s walking into a massive stadium and seeing the field. It’s seeing Chris Davis run 109 yards or Ricardo Louis haul in a tipped pass. You get the point.
This being true, when the Pearson’s took a trip to Walt’s World this year I didn’t want to miss out on a single “wow face.” Most everything could be seen without help. But every now and then, a character would walk by (i.e., Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck or Elsa or Anna) and, due to the crowd, the kids couldn’t see. I don’t even have to type out what I did during these moments. I moved heaven and earth to help my kids see everything before the moment (or character) passed. I would pick one of the kids up, put another on my shoulder, move people out of the way, etc. I did whatever I had to do so that my child could experience the moment and I could, again, see the “wow face.”
That’s the meaning of Philippians 4:5. Being gentle means helping people experience the “wow face” with Jesus. In the context of this chapter, Paul is offering directives for how to stand firm as Jesus followers (see verse 1). One way to ensure long-term perseverance is to seek to be known for gentleness. Seek to be known for intentionally being kind with an unassuming spirit. It’s seeking to help others experience blessing. Why? Because the Lord is at hand. Paul helps give understanding to this verse by giving the readers perspective. If the Lord really is present, why would we ever want to call attention to ourselves or try to get eyes on us? If the Lord is at hand, then our goal is simple: help others enjoy Him. Being known for gentleness means being known for intentionally, with an unassuming spirit, demonstrating kindness so that Christ can be seen, known, and experienced. It’s the spirit of John the Baptist: “He must increase, I must decrease.”
If Mickey is walking by, why would anyone want to get in his way and get everyone to look at them? If Jesus is in the room, why would anyone EVER want to distract from Him?
If Mickey is walking by, I want to – automatically & without thinking – work so my kids can see everything about him. They didn’t think about me helping them get to see the characters. They didn’t even consider for a second how I might be serving them in order to see the “main attraction.” To be honest, I didn’t think about how “virtuous” I was for helping them. It just happened.
That’s what Paul means. Be known for your gentleness, the Lord is at hand.
What do you want to be known for? What do you hope people say at your funeral? Wanna stand firm in the Lord? Strive for this sort of intentional, unassuming kindness. Why not? The Lord is near.