How Christians Should Be Like Dust
This past week my family and I took a vacation to Colorado. It was amazing! Believe it or not, it was the first time I’ve ever seen the mountains up close and personal. Talk about amazing and inspiring…I could stay in the mountains for a LONG time and write and study and write and study… I’ll post a few of our pics on Instagram. In addition to sightseeing, hiking, and fishing, we participated in some pretty adventurous undertakings too! We did some summer alpine activities on a mountain in Breckenridge. We ziplined through the mountains (in the rain!), and we also went white water rafting.
While we were there, we also had an opportunity to attend a church bible study in Canon City with some family. The kids weren’t quite as excited as I was about this activity, but I sure enjoyed it! Call me crazy, but I eat that kind of stuff up. It’s super fun for me. I especially love gleaning wisdom from older, more experienced people. However, the coolest bit of insight I gained at this study was from my 15-year-old cousin. And of all things…her insight was about dust.
We are like dust
One of the passages we studied was Genesis 28:10-19 about Jacob’s dream at Bethel. My young cousin focused on verse 14 in this passage:
“Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions–to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.” Genesis 28:14 (NLT)
She explained how this made her think of Christians being like dust, pointing out that dust spreads in all directions and gets everywhere. Then another lady brought up a verse that came to her mind which also indicates that we are like dust:
“For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” Psalm 103:14 (NLT)
Their conversation got my wheels turning about the qualities of dust and how we are to exhibit some of those same qualities as Christians. This also reminded me of when I studied salt and wrote previously about the qualities of salt and how we should be like it.
Let’s talk about some of the qualities of dust that we should emulate…
Dust spreads and gets everywhere
Just like the verse said, dust “will spread out in all directions”. It multiplies and duplicates itself. So, just like my perceptive cousin pointed out, we too should spread out and get everywhere. In order to spread out and get everywhere, that means we have to GO and put ourselves out there! We are going to step outside of our comfort zones and get out of our bubbles. Jesus also commanded us to do this…
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19 (NLT)
Dust sticks to things
Dust clings to the objects it encounters. Likewise, we should leave a trace of Jesus wherever we go. We need to leave evidence behind of love and Christ-like character. What we say and do should stick with people (in a good way) and make them think.
“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9 (NLT)
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:16-17 (NLT)
Dust can be wiped away but it always comes back
Dust never seems to stay away. Even when we clean it, it constantly reappears. As Christians we should be persistent—but in a gentle, non-annoying, non-pushy, and non-social weirdo kind of way. 😉 We shouldn’t give up on people too easily. It’s imperative to keep showing love and kindness. We need to keep reaching out and offering a helping hand. Discernment is obviously an important skill here. Get some tips here about effective ways of reaching people.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
“My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them” Proverbs 3:21(NLT)
Settles lightly over time
Dust is typically not dumped all at once. It appears over time, a little at a time. If we are to be effective, we can’t come on too strong. Like the previous paragraph implied—don’t be a weirdo! We should be able to share and communicate about Jesus with others here a little and there a little. Again, we should use discernment and following the leading and promptings of the Holy Spirit to take advantage of sharing opportunities and “teachable moments” as I like to call them. Consistency over time of a Christ-like life and example will have the greatest impact.
“Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house– too much of you, and they will hate you.” Proverbs 25:17(NIV)
“He tells us everything over and over–one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!” Isaiah 28:10 (NLT)
“Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Deuteronomy 6:7 (NLT)
Dust can be irritating
Dust has the potential to be irritating, annoying and unwanted at times. It stings when it gets in our eyes. It causes us to sneeze. Typically, it’s undesirable to have around. Now you’re probably thinking, “Why in the world would we want to be like that?!” I mean, who wants to be undesirable, right? Why should we imitate this quality of dust?
Well, unfortunately, when we truly associate with Jesus and live a life that fully and completely honors him, it’s going to annoy and irritate some people. In fact, we’re probably even going to be persecuted for it. Some of our lifestyle and choices are uncomfortable for others. Sometimes as Christians we can sting people’s conscious. However, like the salt in this example (see #4), we “sting” or “irritate” for a greater purpose of bringing about good.
“Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (NLT)
“Does not my word burn like fire?” says the LORD. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29 (NLT)
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?” Acts 2:36-37 (HCSB)
“But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.” 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (NLT)
Dust is messy
Let’s be honest. Dust is just pretty gross sometimes. It’s messy. As Christians, we are going to have to get a little messy when sharing Jesus and loving others. It’s not always fun, clean, or comfortable. Like we mentioned with the spreading out, we are going to have to get outside of our comfort zones. We might have to associate with people that we might not ordinarily befriend (keeping healthy boundaries, of course, for our closest friendships—Proverbs 13:20, 1 Corinthians 15:33). Being a friend of sinners can get messy. We need to be prepared to catch some flak and criticism just as Jesus did.
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” Matthew 11:19 (NIV)
“This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people–even eating with them!” Luke 15:2 (NLT)
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)
“Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13 (NLT)
Take Some Practical Steps to Be Like Dust:
- Spread out. Get out of your comfort zone. Get out and talk to people about Jesus. Love on people. Be a Christ-like example everywhere you go. Make disciples. Duplicate yourself.
- Be sticky. Leave behind a trace of Jesus everywhere you go. Make a positive impact, and do things that stick with people.
- Be persistent. Don’t give up on people too easily. Keep reaching out.
- Take your time with people. You can’t win people to God until you win them to yourself first. This takes time. Don’t dump on people. Share here a little, there a little.
- Be prepared to be irritating to some people. Not on purpose mind you! Your goal shouldn’t be to tick people off! However, if you’re living right, you’re going to be persecuted. Just be ready. Persecution shouldn’t deter you.
- Get messy. Again, get outside of your comfort zone. Reach out to the outcasts and people who Christians might otherwise consider “undesirable”. Then, prepare to potentially be criticized for it. Remember, healthy people don’t need a doctor. Sick people do. YOU’RE the doctor! Get out there and help the sick!
Can you think of any other qualities of dust that we should imitate? Share your ideas with us by leaving a comment below.
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