As a child of the ’90s, my Friday nights of preadolescence were filled with innumerable trips to Blockbuster. It was always a treat to roam up and down the aisles until I found just the right movie or movies—depending on if there was a sale—to take home and enjoy throughout the weekend. Older millennials and Gen Xers remember the supreme annoyance of their freshly popped corn ready to be devoured while warm, only to be disappointed by a VHS that is at the end of the movie! Now, your microwaved treat becomes cold while you wait several minutes for the video to be rewound so that your viewing pleasure can begin. In order to discourage this common infraction, Blockbuster popularized a phrase in order to motivate customers to properly return their VHS tape rentals: “Be Kind. Rewind.”
While inanimate objects carry a certain level of importance, the most valued in all of God’s creation is people—and how we treat one another matters greatly to God. As Christ followers, we are charged to “speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle, and show PERFECT COURTESY toward all people” (Titus 3:2 ESV- emphasis added). We are called to demonstrate an unparalleled quality of hospitality & courtesy to others. Paul admonishes Titus to model and motivate others to show perfect courtesy to everyone. The Greek word translated as “courtesy” is prautes. The word carries the idea of not being overly impressed by one’s self-importance. In other words, we make others the big deal.
At my home church, the single most obvious core value shared by the staff and leaders is this, “people matter.” It is in light of this reality that we facilitate various ministries to reinforce this standard. From feeding those who are hungry on a weekly basis to grand service projects impacting families and schools on a monthly and annual basis. This idea bleeds into our home, family, and relationships. For the Cormiers, taking care of people has become second nature to us.
I think that as leaders, we should focus more intentionally on this area if we are to impact our world. A few simple gestures of “perfect” courtesy are as follows: 1) showing conversational interest in others, 2) inconveniencing yourself in order to meet the needs around you, 3) never justifying rude or demeaning behavior towards those around you, and 4) even when you don’t feel the need to be kind, demonstrating kindness to all—no matter their perceived status (or lack thereof).
In September, Octavia and I received word that some dear friends from our previous church back in Colorado were going to be here in Tucson due to a family crisis involving their daughter. It was a medical emergency which warranted this couple flying into our city. At the time of the call, we were headed to Phoenix in preparation for a ministry trip. After speaking with the couple, we knew it would be a blessing to them to lodge in our home. We turned our vehicle around and quickly rushed home to take out needed supplies, facilitate a quick cleaning, provide some snacks, and prepare a room for them. Once we returned from that ministry trip, this couple remained in our home for several more days while ministering to their adult daughter. Then, in the face of our faith-filled prayers, their daughter went to be with the Lord. A few of our evenings and mornings were spent praying together and listening to stories of their daughter. Mutual encouragement was shared between us (millennial, African-American couple) and them (baby-boomer, caucasian couple). At the end of our time together, we thanked God for the rich time we were able to share in arguably the darkest moment of their lives. It bonded us. It was our privilege that week to strive our very best to show “perfect” courtesy, because, well…people matter.
I implore you to seek for ways to show “perfect” courtesy to those around you. The Spirit of God that lives on the inside of you is readily available to empower you to conquer the giant of self-absorbed living that is so prevalent in our culture. We are kingdom citizens. The way of Jesus is greatly demonstrated by the perfected level of courtesy we show everyone—especially those who are “of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).