Prepare for Peace
As followers of Christ, we live in a broken, fast-changing world, one where Christians are a shrinking minority. This world is hostile; it challenges and rejects our value and belief system and attacks the Christian community.
I live as a minority Christian in my community—the impoverished, inner city of Toledo. I have been shocked, repulsed, angry, and indignant at times, even hopeless. I have not always been gracious or gentle when confronted by other beliefs. I am also a minority in mainstream America. My son has recently experienced “world” shock, returning to in-person schooling this year at a private boy’s school. He said to me, “I am shocked at the lack of supervision in the halls, mom. I have never heard so much bad language. These kids are weird, mom. They talk about weird stuff.”
I found out later the weird stuff they talk about. Yes, the world is different than we are; yet we must get along in it. I must teach him how to be a foreigner in his homeland. What then should we do as Christians? How can we rise up?
Your first thoughts may be voting, changing laws, telling the world what we think as Christians by marching. I would propose something radical—what if we prepared for peace instead of preparing for war?
The story of Abigail shows us a lesson in preparing for peace with dignity and grace. As the story goes, our hero, Abigail, is married to a foolish and harsh man named Nabal. Nabal has rashly offended the new king, David, who is now planning retribution in which Abigail and the entire household will be in peril.
“Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs and loaded them on donkeys.Then she told her servants, ‘Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.’ But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them.” –Samuel 25:18–20
Abigail took her enemy dinner and rode in on her donkey as a savior for her household to an incoming army. She did not prepare for war, but she did prepare for peace. Abigail exhibited dignity and grace with ultimate trust in her God. She lived in a home lorded by a harsh and foolish master, a sojourner in her own home. With dignity and grace, she strove for peacemaking and keeping while faithful to God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” –Matthew 5:9
We can rise up with dignity and grace as peacemakers. Let us as Christians be a minority group that shows dignity and grace when facing the armies of the world. Who will bring bread to the workplace, the family, and the schools? Let us eat with those coming against us, with the unwavering trust that Abigail had.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” –Philippians 2:14–16