18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~ James 3:18 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
I spent a few days this summer in the company of some college-aged students who are devoting their lives to striving to bring about world peace. Their zeal is sincere, and their goal is lofty and admirable. After all, there is a terrible shortage of peace in today’s world. When we strive to bring about peace, we’re following the exhortations of our Saviour, Jesus Christ: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.”
Not to be critical (but to make a point) I want to tell you something I noticed that made an impression on me. The young people were committed to bringing about peace and justic — but they never refilled the ice trays. If you happened to be the last person to want a glass of iced tea, you’d find the trays empty. You’d have to drink it warm. To top it off, not only would you not have any ice in your drink, it would be up to you to fill the trays if there was any hope of having ice tomorrow.
I tell you this, not to be critical, but to make a point. We’re all guilty of not refilling the ice trays and a million things which are the moral equivalent. It’s the fruit of our sinful nature to look out for ourselves and to leave the next guy to fend for himself. But deep in our hearts we all want to live in a peaceful world. I’ve reached a conclusion. We’ll never have world peace until we start to refill the ice trays for the next guy.
I’m a pretty big fan of The Beatles and the music of the late John Lennon. They helped provide the soundtrack of my early childhood. Many of Lennon’s songs are devoted to the subject of bringing about world peace. I’m sure you’ve heard “All You Need is Love” and “Give Peace a Chance.” He really did want to help bring about world peace.
I don’t know if you know it, but John Lennon was twice-married and had a son with each of his wives. His son by his first wife, Cynthia, is named Julian. John Lennon deserted Julian at an early age and was not in contact with him until Julian was nearly grown.
This is what Julian had to say about his father: “I have to say that, from my point of view, I felt he was a hypocrite. Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces — no communication, adultery, divorce? You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.”
It all comes down to this: There won’t be any world peace until we are at peace with our families. We won’t have world peace until we can get along with our coworkers, our neighbors, and the people we meet on the street. There won’t be world peace until we have peace in our homes. And there will be no peace at all until you as an individual are at peace with God.
So ask the Lord Jesus to fill your heart and to live His life through you. And then refill the ice trays for the next guy. That’s the way to give peace a chance.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where all the country kids are back in school.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.