1 Peter 4 – Live out loud

Whimsical artwork by my mom, Karen Smith.

How loud do your actions speak?

While we may not always think about ourselves this way, we are very impressionable creatures. We observe; we act; we inspire.

Think of yourself when you were a child.
I have this silly little memory of going to Noah’s Bagels with my Mom and for years, I would always order the exact same thing she did – pumpernickle bagel, toasted with cream cheese and a dill pickle on the side. There were always plenty of other bagel varieties to choose from, but without even thinking I piped up to the bagel person that I wanted “What my mom is having, too.”

While what I ordered at the bagel shop is not a very life-altering experience, it reminds me of how much I followed the footsteps of my mom.
My mom loved to sculpt, and from the time I was old enough to squeeze cold clay between my fingers, I was taking sculpting classes. For a while I even told people that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up (or, how did I put it, ‘I’m already an artist – I just plan to get better.’) My mom would always display my colorful masks and lopsided pinch pots around the house. I felt like a star – our home turning into my own art gallery.

My mom also loved to get involved in my classes when I was in grade school. Before school started, she always took me in to meet my new teacher and then we would ask if there was anything we could do to help him or her out. We would make photo copies, put up posters and run out to Starbucks to grab ice-coffees and scones for a little break. That first visit was just the start of my mom’s involvement in the classroom. She was always telling the teachers to call on her to help out in any way. Seeing her come into the classroom made me feel so proud. There was my mom coming in to do help out with the day’s history lesson, bringing treats to our Halloween party and teaching us how to make our own Native American-inspired art.
When I have kids, I want to be just as involved in their schools as my mom was in mine.

My mom had a gift of making others feel the uniqueness and amazing talents that they have to offer. She was always present when a friend needed someone to sit with them at a doctor’s visit. She listened to the needs of our community and led campaigns to raise funding for Portland Public Schools, went out and bought special traffic cones to remind drivers to slow down in neighborhoods with lots of children and silently slipped a new set washer and dryer unit on a friend’s front porch because she knew they were in need of help.

She had a gift of compassion and sensitivity; and even though she was only alive until I was 13, I could sense her gifts and will always remember how she used them in positive ways. She made an impression on me – one I know will never leave me.

In 1 Peter, Peter reminds us that God has given gifts to each one of us. He says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms.” 4:10

To have gifts and not use them is a waste. Why hide the beauty of what God has created you to do? You were created by the Father with a purpose. Choosing to live out His plan for you is acting on your calling.

Peter goes on to say, “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 4:11

Your actions speak so loud. Just like my little childhood self ordering the exact same bagel combo as my mom, wanting to be an artist just like her and wanting to be a person who practices random acts of kindness, we are a people that observe and soak up the actions of others. If we live out loud by acting with God in mind – using our gifts to bring glory to Him who created us and this amazing universe – we live our lives with purpose.

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