Monday, May 10, 2010

The life of the party

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day yeasty\YEE-stee\ adjective

Meaning: 1. of, relating to, or resembling yeast; 2. a) immature, unsettled; *b) marked by change;  c) full of vitality; d) frivolous

Example Sentence: "In that yeasty time in the mid-sixties when I went to work as a reporter in Paris, the world was about to pop." (Raymond Sokolov, Why We Eat What We Eat)

Some people bring life to every party. They are fun to be around, full of vitality and fun. People naturally gravitate to them. They don't have to announce themselves when they come into a room, but gradually everyone comes around for a chat and some encouragement. Their good humor and kindness make people feel safe and welcome, so they naturally draw the best out of others.

Some may hope to be the life of the party, but are just unsettling. They function without the good manners or social skills that make others feel included or affirmed. They may have power or authority within the group, and so bluster and make inappropriate remarks, with a "ha ha," of course. (The same comment would never fetch so much as a grin, but more likely a reprimand, if directed to them.) Those who retort in kind to brush off the inappropriateness are viewed as insubordinate or disrespectful. On the other hand, the weak or political climbers who are the butt of a "superior's" jokes may laugh, but they also scramble to get out of the line of fire as soon as possible. Jesus warned against such worldly domination, the forcing of one's "superiority" on others, under the guise of leadership.

The yeast of our casual conversations permeate the secrets others harbor about us. Though I might not say it aloud, I like to be around those who affirm choices that take people a different direction from their own calling. I admire those who respectfully acknowledge that God has a unique place for each of us - whether or not our salary and perks match the ambitions of others. I respect people who treat those less "important" in a job chart as equally human and worthy of attention. I seek out those secure enough in their position to boost others beyond themselves.

Not every woman can be Cinderella, the belle of the ball. Not every man is the prince who rules the country wisely. Someone has to polish the slipper and wash the scullery. Someone else mucks the stables and clips the hedges. Ambitious nobles who serve their own interests and demean those "less important" than themselves may succeed for a season. But eventually they find themselves barred from the trusted circle of court counselors, to the cheers of the "little people" they overlooked.

Jesus, who was the life of the party wherever he went, drew others to himself with humility, inclusion, and a love for the weak and helpless. He served from the bottom up, and said his true followers would do the same. One of our beloved pastors modeled such service: he cared for the poor and those who were bound by sin and suffering. He is one of the great ones in my line-up of spiritual heroes because of the way he modeled Christ's greatness to the congregation. 

Read more:
*The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. Psalm 111:10 NKJV

*If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV 

*You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 NIV

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