by Charles R. Swindoll
Once we've been assured of the foundational principles we've covered thus far in this devotional series, the challenge we face in our chaotic times is painfully obvious. What we need is a courage transfusion. Four commands are found in 1 Corinthians 16:13: "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." We've focused on the first two; today we're discussing number three.
Here's the third command: Grow up! If the first two haven't been strong enough, I thought I'd get your attention with the third one. Here are two words you may not have heard lately: Grow up! Paul says it like this: "Act like men." I know you're an adult. But age proves nothing. It's maturity that matters. This command urges us to be adults in things that matter, like taking responsibility, thinking clearly, and acting courteously.
I love the motto of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Cynthia and I are good friends with Bill Johnson, who, for a long time, owned the Ritz-Carlton organization. They came up with a wonderful motto. While sitting at one of our Insight for Living board meetings, I looked over in Bill's direction and asked, "Can you give me the mission statement of the Ritz-Carlton?"
His response was instantaneous: "I sure can." He pulled a small card out of his shirt pocket and read, "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen."
Was I impressed! So, when Cynthia and I were staying for a few days at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Maui the following summer, the lady who made up our bed came in every day. She was so kind and extremely efficient. Remembering Bill Johnson's comment, I decided to ask her a similar question.
I said, "By the way, Maria, do you know the Ritz-Carlton motto?" There was no hesitation as she stood a little taller, smiled, and answered, "Oh, yes sir. We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen."
It had permeated from the top all the way through to the people who make the beds. They take their mission seriously. They're adults when it comes to being responsible. There's something great about being an adult, a real lady, a real gentleman. It helps you stand tall.
Did you know that this is the only place in all the New Testament where these words appear? "Act like a man." One-time-only words are called a hapax legomena, which means, "spoken once." Now, it's used in other ways in the Old Testament Greek Bible, but this is the only place where "act like a man" appears in the New. So this is God's unique message to all of us, as if He's punching His finger against our sternum.
Isn't it about time you take responsibility for your own actions? When you do what's wrong, say it was wrong. You're the one who caused the problem? Admit it. That's what adults do. You tell someone you'll do something, then do it! Let's act like ladies and gentlemen. Ladies keep their word. Gentlemen are faithful and true.
Excerpted from Why, God? Calming Words for Chaotic Times, Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
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