I sorted through my drawers this weekend (something my wife has been after me to do for some time.) I needed to get rid of some shirts, that at this time in their life, would make better rags. This was a task long overdue, Melanie would agree.
As I sorted through and threw rag/shirts over into the toss pile I wondered what had taken me so long. I have a tendency to wear shirts down to nothing - especially undershirts. Working my way to the bottom of the drawer I discovered an ancient artifact - handkerchiefs.
What were these square clothes - much to thin to make a good rag? I don't know why I even have them in my drawer. I don't remember buying them. One was blue with a KC logo. Okay that one was promotional item. Two others were folded in a triangle - I remember wearing those under my bicycle helmet to catch sweat. Four were the straight up white variety (much whiter than my undershirts due to the lack of use.)
I recall my dad and grandpa always having one of these in their back pocket. On the farm it was handy in the field, when no tissues were nearby. And the dust and dirt blowing up in your face always made a handkerchief necessary. Just a kid in those days, I remember having a handkerchief of my own when I joined dad in the hayfield.
Why don't I carry them around now? Well, I work in an office. Dirt seldom blows up into my face. My biggest nuisance is the occasional headache from the florescent lights or the sore shoulders and back from hunching over my computer. Even if I needed a handkerchief, I wouldn't have room for one. Like a lot of us, my back pocket is occupied by my cell phone.
Handkerchiefs now seem to be something of nostalgia and not just of a life on the farm where one was needed to relieve the sinuses of dust. Remember how Carey Grant or Jimmy Stewart used to offer the lady their handkerchief when she would cry? Who does that anymore? Handkerchiefs came in very handy to the beau sharing a moment onscreen with his emotional gal. "Don't cry, shopgirl."
Romans 12:15-16 says
15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
This is all a part of sharing life together. We are made in the image of a relational God and we are to be relational! And not just carnal relationship, but heavenly relationships - sharing life as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Galatians is one of my favorite books in the NT, especially chapter 6. And in that chapter, Paul instructs us to;
2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
I'm not saying that we should all go back to the days of carrying around a handkerchief, or that we should give up our cell phones in our back pockets and return to the days of blowing our noses into linens. What I am saying is that, as the opportunity presents itself, we should be obedient to Christ and submit ourselves to one another. We should speak truth and encouragement to one another and when the moment calls for it we should just shut up and be a shoulder to lean on. There isn't an app for that.