“Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7)
I don’t know about you, but when I picture the apostle Paul I think of a man’s man. I think of someone who was willing to be beaten, imprisoned, rejected, spoken against, and shipwrecked for the sake of Jesus. I think of a man who wrestled with beasts of Ephesus, demonic forces of darkness, and false brethren masquerading as angels of light.
As an apostle of Christ, he could have made many demands upon the people. But instead he was gentle among them, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. Of all the images I have of Paul, a nursing mom is not one of them! Yet this was how he described himself.
Being a gentle man seems to be a lost art–like chivalrous knights of old. Men today often degenerate into wimps who cannot protect the helpless, adolescents who are lazy yet feel entitled, brute beasts who violently dominate, or recluses who are aloof and detached.
My wife and I were shopping in the frozen food aisle the other day, gazing over the delicious offerings of ice cream, when a young man stepped in front of us, opened the door, and grabbed three cartons with barely a recognition that we were even there. Where have all the manners gone?
A nursing mother gently cares for her children, holding them close and nurturing them. She sacrifices herself in order to provide for them and protect them. Now combine this with the physical strength and courage of a man’s man, and you have the picture the apostle Paul wants us to see. Strong in gentleness; gentle in strength; considerate of everyone.
Men, it’s time for us to shape up. Chivalry may be in a coma, but it’s not dead..at least not yet. Let’s do our best to revive it.
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