In many Christian circles, I hear people talk about peace, but they use the Hebrew word 'shalom,' which is translated 'peace.' This word is a greeting or parting word commonly used in Israel, sort of like 'hello' and 'good bye.' Over the years I have not given much thought to it when anyone used the word 'shalom,' and at times thought they were simply trying to be trendy or cool when they used it.
I have been thinking more about it, however, and of course I have had a limited and sometimes cynical view on the word. My church uses the word to describe what they want to accomplish in the community in which the church is located and we have indeed contributed to the peace of the city. It has not simply been because we hold worship services in that community, however. We have brought shalom because we have been involved beyond Sunday, fostering and promoting many innovative, creative ministries that bring help and support to the residents every day of the week.
So here are my thoughts on how you can bring shalom to your community and your world.
You can bring peace to your world by finding and fulfilling your purpose. You can bring peace by doing what is in your heart to do, not talking yourself out of it using a myriad of excuses why you cannot be the one to do this or that. You bring peace in purpose and productivity not because you are a nice person or because your are smart, but because when you do the works prepared beforehand for you to do, then God works with and through you. You are a shalom carrier because you are God's representative when you flow and function in purpose. And where God is and people are doing His will, there is shalom.
A good example of the power of individual shalom is found in Nehemiah. No one could rebuild the entire city, but each person could do what they could do where they could do it as described in this passage from Nehemiah 3:10-12:
Adjoining this, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs next to him. Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters.
You can see that some worked close to their home and others worked on the wall as a family project. Each one contributed what they could and, as the old adage goes, "many hands make light work." They did not pray for the peace of their city, they worked for the peace of their city. When they were threatened, they were willing to fight for the peace of their city. Fight for peace - that has a strange sound to it but it's true. If you want to contribute to peace, then fight through the turmoil in your own life and heart that is keeping you from doing what you can do to bring peace through purpose.
I write and create order out of chaos (my personal purpose) and my contributions bring peace where my writings and I are able to go. I cannot be a peace-maker or peace-bringer by myself. I can only repair my part of the wall and trust that you will repair your portion. I urge you today, if you want to bring peace to your city and your world, to find and fulfill your purpose and set plans that will enable you to achieve the dreams and goals in your heart. Shalom is not part of the heavenly Jerusalem that will descend magically on high. Shalom will 'happen' as you and many others like you take your place on God's wall and make your contribution with all the energy and creativity that God supplies. Thank you and have a blessed week!
KENYA UPDATES: As usual, I have posted several updates about the work in Kenya for your review and consideration. Once you have read, please give generously to my work there, either through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
DALLAS, TEXAS ON SEPTEMBER 20: I will be in Dallas next Saturday morning for a purpose seminar. The flier with information is attached below. The admission is free but you must register. Let me hear from you this week.
CREATIVITY SEMINAR ON OCTOBER 10-11: A flier describing a creativity seminar here in Pittsburgh is also attached below. It is also free but once again you must register for the event.
PITTSBURGH SEMINAR: I will be hosting a purpose seminar here in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 4 from noon to 4:30. Space is limited to 40 people but admission is free! Once again, I ask that you send me an email to let me know you will be there. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The sessions are held in the Children's MInistry at Allegheny Center Alliance Church.