“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

// Romans 14:19

“If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?” This was a question many of us were commonly asked when we were younger, and one of the most classic responses was always, “world peace.” Isn’t it so easy for us to wish for world peace, or to make bold proclamations behind the security blanket of our screens and social media platforms – but how much of our lives actually reflect our words?

In this verse, Paul is saying that we are called to build each other up by being distribution centers of peace in our communities. Paul uses the verb ‘pursue’ or dioko, which paints the picture of a lion chasing down its prey, or a world-class sprinter straining for the finish line. Isn’t this imagery thrilling? We get the opportunity to chase after and actively pursue opportunities to encourage the lost and breathe life into those around us. We get to sprint into hopeless situations and be the conduit of restoration. The Greek term ‘building up,’ or oikodome, was used to describe the process of fortifying city walls or strengthening a building. Our goal, then, is to actively strengthen and encourage one another to press onward toward Heaven.

Jesus – the Prince of Peace – came to earth clothed in humility and meekness and activated a whole new dimension of peace. When we look at His life, we see that that His first initiative in any social setting was to add value. Jesus was all about activation – whether that was through miraculous healing, sound teaching, or breaking bread with a bunch of fishermen. He was, and remains, the true and ultimate distribution center of peace.

Through His scandalous grace, God has enabled us to be distribution centers that bring the peace of Heaven to earth. We voluntarily shoulder the responsibility to relentlessly encourage, lovingly correct, and bravely confront each other – all within the context of a safe and loving environment. And because of this responsibility, we extend grace when messes are made and make ourselves available to help in the clean-up. Today, someone has trusted you with access into their world; steward it judiciously. Let your actions reflect your Savior – distribute peace wherever you go.

// Kyle Negrete