I'm not saying that I need to help out with the chores more, though I probably do. Nor am I suggesting that I have hidden beauty that can be unveiled by a good scrub up. Somethings are even beyond the powers of a fairy godmother! I need to share Cinderella's priorities.

Now Cinderella has had many incarnations. The one I am referring to is the latest Disney film, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James. It's a delight. A favourite in our family, especially with the 4 year old female member. We watched for the umpteenth time on Saturday evening. In it Ella (as she is known before her mean step-sisters add to her name) is given advice for life by her dying mother: "The secret to life is to always be kind and have courage."

Now I don't want to give a Disney solution to the problems of the world. I want to give a biblical one. But in this case the two are not incompatible. Because if those of us who followed Jesus were always kind and had courage, then we would go a lot further towards living lives that were used by Him for His glory.

Being kind is at the heart of "Love your neighbour as yourself." (Mark 12:31) It's such a brilliant command because it's inescapable. There is no area of my life where I cannot apply "Love your neighbour as yourself." From my behaviour in the supermarket to the way I drive. From what I think about people in private to the way I speak to them in public. From the way I use my money to the way that I spend my time. Every thought, word and action would be transformed if I only thought, said and did to others what I would want them to do to me. And frankly I always want people to be kind to me.

Having courage is what I need to fulfil the other great command that should consume me as I seek to worship Jesus. "Go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:19). I am to share the life saving news of Jesus. The best news in the world. The news everyone needs. The news of the only mediator between God and people. The news of the only one who has dealt with sin and conquered death.

Now I shouldn't need more than kindness to do this. Believing what I do about Jesus, it is distinctly unkind not to tell anyone I meet about him. The thing is that telling people about Jesus is a tad scary. Even for the pastor. That's why I need courage. The courage to do what is right. The  courage to save lives.

Wonderfully courage and kindness are not character traits I have to find within myself. Or skills I have to learn. They are things that God himself gives through the power of His Spirit. The apostle Paul tells the church in Philippi how he has remained content in serving Jesus through thick and thin: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

And because I know God is at work in me by His grace, I know that He will help me be a little more like Cinderella and a little bit less like an ugly sister!

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