“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.”
— Luke 10:5-6 (NIV)
I once met a man who, despite appearances that differed, was an incredible person of peace. He wasn’t just laid back and calm. He actually sought to live in harmony in the moments he had with everyone, much to the extent that he would serve someone like me in the integrity of love, and yet he owed me absolutely nothing. He owed nobody anything. He seemed unafraid, and to be without agenda. He never had a grievance. The man was a mystery.
Even as I share I’m sure you have a picture in your mind of a certain someone who reminds you of this man. He is not that unusual. I may have painted him in lines of perfection. He clearly was very flawed, but his character was congruent with abiding peace.
We’ve all encountered the person of peace — the soul who promotes peace; who lives it. Some will have been Christian, some not. Indeed, some of the religious we’ve encountered haven’t been marked with the shalom of God we can come to expect.
According the Matthaean tradition, consonant with the passage above, the person who promotes peace is a person worthy (Greek: ἄξιος) of us spending our time. This is a person suitable for sharing the gospel. If we were to stay with them, their household would be worthy, because the house would be one of peace, because we would gift that peace to it, as much as that household and person would be gifting to us their peace. This is Jesus’ peace we speak of; something that may be given and received. It is an empowering shalom, or pervading presence of peace between entities, for the overcoming of many guiles and trials.
As Christians serving the gospel we’re to be peace-givers, peace-seekers, peace-receivers, and certainly peace-makers. We’re not to feel guilty for leaving situations that present a waste of our precious time. We’re merchants of the one and only living God; the Lord of peace. If our peace is proven to be thwarted, we must thwart that thwarting.
We’re called to look for the person in our midst who has been readied with the sandals of peace, and to walk in fellowship with them. This is a person worthy of our time. And we ought to be worthy of theirs, too, by being persons of peace, ready to serve in the love of peace.
This peace we speak of here is an intimacy between persons where relationship is free to flow and grow. It has the undertone of the salvation of God about it. The relationship has that rarefied quality of joy, even if in the midst of pain, for the commonalities of oneness shared in the concert of twoness.
There is no guilt to be carried for those fractured relationships we’ve borne. Christ has set us free of needing to bear such a burden. We’re not responsible. If we’ve given what we could to a relationship, and we received no sign back that the effort we put in was deemed worthy, to them, then our time is not worthily spent with them.
We grow in peace when we spend time with people at peace.
And as we spend time with a person at peace we may both grow in our experience of the salvation of God in Christ.
Here’s a final thought:
When we’re persons of peace, we’re worthy of time — ours, theirs and God’s. Only when we’re persons of peace are we actually worthy of the time we’ve been given.
Time is precious. It ought never to be taken for granted. Being persons of peace helps us reconcile the wonders of time, that we live at the cusp of it, in order that we might make the most of it.
May He who granted you your peace enliven it more and more until the coming of Christ.