One Size Never Fits AllJon Burgess
“Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14
Paul makes it clear we don't get to stand at a distance in mild indifference when it comes to our family of faith. He calls us first, "brothers and sisters", turning our attention to our church Ohana. Then, with the skill of a father, Paul points out how each child is struggling in a different way. He isn't criticizing or comparing one to the other. With the skill of a doctor he is carefully encouraging the unique diagnosis for each person. It won't do good to come down hard on the one who is weak for that will crush them. It won't do good to encourage the lazy person for that will look like we are giving license to keep living the entitled lifestyle. It won't do good to ignore the timid because they need someone to come alongside them and encourage- pour courage in to them by reminding them of who they are! Then Paul drives home what love looks like in the family of faith- "patience with everyone." It's easy to be patient with those you relate with. It's easy to be harsh with those you can't understand. Why is it taking so long for them to get over that loss? Why can't they just get here on time? How many times do I have to tell them this is what God has designed them for? It's never one-size-fits-all and it's always with-patience-for-all.
My entire life has been constant proof that the one-size-fits-all promise is a total myth. Year after year, hat after hat, promise after promise I have walked away sad because I just can't get it to fit my head! In Bible College I just couldn't find my fit in the specific tracks they had set out for future ministers. So, instead of fitting into an existing church, I started a new one. Raising 5 boys is a daily reminder that the one-size-fits-all approach is actually detrimental to their development. On any given day one son needs a swift kick in the Okele with his chores, another encouragement to make friends at school, another needing care in help with his homework. All of them, all the time, require an immense amount of patience. I don't just get to choose which ones I will be patient with just as I don't get to choose which ones I will love. Just as God, in His infinite patience, has known exactly what I need and when I need it. The correction of The Father, the love of The Son, the boldness of The Holy Spirit. The community of the Trinity itself is an argument against a broad brush approach of people and their problems. Each person is unique, each challenge is different, each one requires a different approach and all require patience. That we would never get to that place with our brothers and sisters in faith that says I will only love you this far and not farther. Cold and calculating, indifferent and indignant, impatient and impossible do not describe the love we have been called to.
Lord, thank you for Your patience with me. You know exactly when I need a kick out of my comfort, a word of courage in my ear and a fresh measure of strength for the task at hand. I love how You love me so uniquely, genuinely, and sincerely. May I walk in this same kind of love towards my boys and my brothers and sisters in the faith!