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It’s our cleaning and maintenance day on Saturday from 10 a.m. and I’ve been thinking about the appropriate materials needed for the different jobs that need doing. Some jobs need soft, dry cloths like dusters. Other jobs need soft, wet cloths for wiping away dirt. Others require scourers and scrubbers, more abrasive clothes, to scrub away hardened stains. Then there are all the different cleaning fluids needed, the different varnishes, paints and stains required to paint railings and treat wood, and it all becomes a little bit of a minefield for somene as inexpert in this field as I am.

Having the right tool for the job is a major part of success in most jobs. This is true in life too. It’s much harder to find the right tool for our relationships, however! Prov 15:23 reminds us that a timely word is a good thing; Prov 16:24 says that ‘gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the sould and healing to our bones.’ We have to use words with insight and restraint (Prov 17:27) and remember that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov 15:1).

As we deal with other people, some need encouragement and persistence; others need challenge and perhaps a ‘nudge’ in the right direction; others need tenderness and comfort. Some just need a listenig ear; others need advice and counsel. I am always tempted to by the all-purpose cloths and all-purpose cleaning fluids because I am fundamentally lazy and dislike cleaning and maintenance, so I want a quick-fix solution. Just as we need specific items for specific jobs, however, we need to understand each person is an individual, investing in them time, attention and love that is shaped to their unique personality. This is how God loves us and this is how He calls us to love others.

Please do join us on Saturday from 10 a.m. if you’re able to help with our cleaning and maintenace, but even if you can’t be with us, think about how your words and actions can help to build others up – or tear them down. Let’s be people who encourage each other and find ways to spur each other on toward love and good deeds. (Heb 10:24-25)