Weekly Thought – March 28, 2023
Fred respected gracious men and women. One of his favorites was the wife of Phoenix executive. In commenting on her way of drawing people to her through her attitude she responded, “Fred, thank you for noticing. I have dedicated it to Jesus Christ.” Her graciousness was her witness.
I remember a fellow saying, “If I treated my wife as well as I treat yours, she would be the happiest woman in the world.” I have repeated that in public numerous times, drawing a laugh without fail because there seems to be truth in it.
Graciousness is like anything else – you have to genuinely desire it. Sarcasm, negative remarks, and critical attitudes aren’t consistent with graciousness. If you want to play the piano, you practice; make money, you work where money is to be made; have muscles, you work out in the gym.
In acquiring a gracious spirit there is a struggle to diminish the value of this attitude. This is where we understand the source of all gifts and develop a humble attitude. The best definition of humility I have ever heard is: humility is not denying the power, but admitting it comes through you and not from you. (Note: at this point Fred would regularly pause and say, “may I repeat that?” It is hard to type this and not wait for him to repeat it.)
Self-righteousness has false humility or the actions of faking humility. That is actually lying.
A magazine interviewer once asked me: “Fred, what is the benefit of being gracious?” I answered: “In the first place, it makes the quality of life so much better. Just like architecture shouldn’t just be utilitarian, life should have beauty, as well. Some argue that being abrupt and direct saves times and gets things done. I disagree. I think time saved by avoiding conflict is time saved in the long run. An important benefit is that it reflects God. That, in itself, is worthwhile for mankind. But we must be careful to see it as an outgrowth of our faith, not just an element of a courteous culture. I grew up in the “gracious South,” but I am not convinced it was always the quality that comes from God, but an environmental atmosphere.
This week think carefully about: 1) How gracious would my family, my colleagues, my church friends say I am? 2) What words would I use to describe a gracious person? 3) Where do I see graciousness in scripture?
Words of Wisdom: “Humility is not denying the power, but admitting it comes through me, not from me.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near!” (Philippians 4:5 NET Bible)