March 24, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Twenty-Three

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?

There is a common phrase that goes, “Information is power.” If you are negotiating a deal or arguing a point, having more information than the other person increases the chances that you will come out better than they will. Sometimes when we pray, we are asking God for “Information.” We want to know how to overcome a problem so we can control the outcome. We want to know the way ahead so that we can avoid the wrong path and come out on top. That is not praying for wisdom.

Biblically, wisdom is a quality that is above and beyond humans. Wisdom is of God. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright,” Proverbs 2:6-7. With wisdom come peace and assurance, not power and control.

Think of someone you would call wise. What are their characteristics? How do you feel in their presence? In my years of ministry, there were a few great mentors I would call people of wisdom. They were not people who sought to climb the ladder of success or be regarded with great respect. They had the wisdom to seek relationships of authentic caring. They had the wisdom to relate to children and youth with love and respect. They had the wisdom to continue to love the person they were attacked by or in conflict with.

I think the wisdom of God comes to us most when we trust God. Trust allows us to believe in things we can’t quite see. Sometimes I couldn’t see how I would ever get a sermon done, then on my way home from church, I would be filled with the mystery of how the Spirit worked through whatever I had been able to muster up. Right now, I have a hard time seeing how we will ever get through the current political crisis in our nation, or the divisiveness of the struggle to discern the Church’s stand on LGBTQ issues. Even so, I trust God will be at work in this coming year. The God of the new day, and the new way, is going before us. I know we will have a year filled with wonderful ministry and new life. I trust in the generous and giving spirit of that lives in the faithful who seek God’s wisdom.

A life in ministry has proven to me over and over again, that we do indeed have a God who gives generously of the peace and assurance we need, if we trust God. That’s all the wisdom I need.

Prayer: Gracious God, may your generous and loving Spirit fill those who feel empty. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference