“For we are the aroma of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:15), meaning the truth of our theology or righteousness of our cause will extend only as far as its fruitful virtue is manifest in our everyday manner of being.
When people ask, “How’s it going?” I am enticed to project an heir of impressive meetings on Capitol Hill or initiatives at the United Nations that I have been privileged to be a part of. But, to give the writer of Ecclesiastes his due, such falsely placed significance is meaningless.
It is quite easily, really, to accumulate an impressive list of accomplishments that sparkle on LinkedIn. Folks in Washington D.C. don’t suffer from a lack of impressive accomplishments; we suffer from enmity – enmity among men that is ultimately rooted in estrangement from our Creator.
The shalom of God and shalom among men will only advance to the degree we embody it ourselves.
Embodiment is fundamental, achievement is tertiary. Thus, the emanating place of power is not in position, title or accomplishments—but in the grace-filled human heart and kindness.
One holiday story I cherish is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a perennial favorite for many. In the story, Scrooge is escorted by the ghost of Christmas past to a time when he was the apprentice of his old boss, Fezziwig. Scrooge recollects that Fezziwig could make him happy or sad through his looks and actions. And that the joy he gave him was priceless.
The potency of living and achieving true greatness is in the accumulation of seemingly insignificant particles of humble, deferential kindnesses that comes from a well spring of faith, hope and love in our souls, not in supposed achievements that fill a resume or obituary.
If the atmosphere of our marriage, work place or church is suffused with love and kindness, then the Kingdom of God is likely very close in that place—and from that place is the power to the change the world.
What happens when people come into my orbit, be it the kitchen table, board room or bus stop?
Our words, looks, gestures, stress or peace are the composite of the room’s atmosphere. Thus each member of a community is a very powerful person.
You can also have influence – in the people surrounding you and in efforts to change the world.
Lucas Koach is the Senior Policy Advisor for Food for the Hungry and a non-parochial Anglican priest attending Restoration Anglican Church in his native Arlington, Va.