One of my “go-to scriptures” is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge God and He will direct your path.” As I will want to go to this scripture text and hold on to it, I also realize that the NRSV uses the word “insight” for “understanding” and “paths” for “path.” I would add to the text one word if afforded the opportunity, “solely.” The phrase would read, “and lean not on your own understanding solely…” Let me tell you why. God has given all of us minds to reason, to learn with and to look at differing points of view. God has given us faith to trust and hold on to, plus discernment coupled with wisdom that is continually being understood in creative ways. So I would add that God does not want to make decisions solely from an academic perspective, but by a collaborative-spiritual effort that is phenomenal to comprehend.
On my desk is a card with these words on it, “It is difficult to follow Jesus if we do not know where he is going and where he wants to lead us.” (Ruben P. Job) I came across this in one of my devotional reading months ago. It has stayed on my desk since then as a constant reminder that we are called to follow Jesus and to somehow know where he is going and where he wants to lead us. As the Great Shepherd, he wants us to be fed, nourished and sent out to bring others to the fold of the community of faith. How this is done and when can be daunting, just to decide.
On the same piece of card these words are written, “Sometimes church issues appear like a “check-engine light” on your dashboard.” Wow! Needing directions. Realizing that issues could be present. And not forgetting that in the first scripture text, there could be a “path” or “paths” as God directs us. Why can’t God just send us a daily email of exactly what to do? Do this and this only today, and all will be well… Why can’t it be so simple and minimize the uncertainty of “Are we doing the right thing? Are we headed in the right direction?” And questions can continue until you never ever put one foot in front of the other and start the journey.
Not because it is the Lenten season, but because we are called daily to pray, I ask for you to pray daily; pray for the church, all its members, the staff and maybe add an encouraging word in the mix… The church is of God and will be about the ultimate Will of God, in our community and world. Will God find us ready, willing, equipped and present to be deployed? I will say, Yes!
Spring Break begins today, Friday, for many of our local school districts. Elections this past Tuesday would have come and gone. Ash Wednesday and Fat Tuesday would have been celebrated by the reading of this epistle. Sunday is “a-coming.” God is at work. Church, I am ever so proud for all who have been faithful in the past and present. A great future is before us. Together, under the strength and guidance of God’s Spirit and the desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ, we take our steps…on the path that Christ has laid for us and has entrusted us with. Be strong and of good courage…
Shalom + Paz + Pax + Peace
P.S.: Congregational Conversation, Sunday, March 23, 2014 after the 10:30 AM service, Aldersgate, Meal served afterwards…