March 29, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Twenty-Six

Week Four: Allocation of Resources

Reflection for the Week: How can we have courage to be generous even when we think there is not enough?

In his book, Irresistible Invitation, Maxie Dunnam shared the story of a classified ad that read something like this:

“Lost — One Dog: Brown hair with several mange spots. Right leg broken due to auto accident. Rear left hip arthritic. Right eye missing. Left ear bitten off in a dog fight. Answers to the name of “LUCKY.” Reward to finder.”

The point of this illustration is obvious. At first, we laugh that such a mess of a dog answers to the name “Lucky.” He appears to be anything but lucky. The ad obviously lists more problems than assets. But, there is one small phrase that trumps all the rest — “Reward to finder.” Someone loves this dog.

I would still give that dog a new name. I would call the dog “Blessed.” Any creature, dog or human, who is loved despite his or her imperfections, is not just lucky. They are blessed. This is the message of grace God gives us in the person of Jesus. Like the classic song line, “Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” Or, like the example of Jesus who said, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them . . . And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13, 16) We are loved because God’s love is perfect, not because we are perfect.

If you think you are lucky, all you are doing is focusing on what you have received. There is no depth of meaning or sense of value. If you live with an understanding that you are blessed, you focus on the one who has blessed you, values you, and loves you. The most wonderful thing about it is, once this blessing is realized, you find it is something you want for others as well. We may not be perfect, but the fact that we are still loved and valued, even with all our flaws, trumps all the rest.

And, the blessings continue.

Prayer: Gracious God, Thank you for loving me even when I do not deserve it. It is then I know what grace is. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference