Tag Archives: Readiness

Wise or Foolish

Living in the Spirit
November  11, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-13

‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.
–Matthew 25:1-7

In the parable of the lamps, Jesus clearly delineates the difference between what is wise and what is foolish. Not being prepared for whatever is coming is foolish. In Oklahoma, most people have a storm plan with a designated place to go for safety and a kit of necessities. My kit includes two sources of lighting one battery operated and one that can be power by cranking it. I, like the bridesmaids who came prepared with more fuel for their lamps, value the ability to see in the dark.

Today we tend to complicate what is wise and what is foolish. Our government at this writing is debating a revision of our tax system with widely divergent opinions on what is wise and what is foolish, most tied to who are financial winners and losers. Some see no problem in massively increasing the national debt. Others identify such a move as a deal breaker. What gets lost in the chaos are the values that drive our efforts.

What can we glean from this parable to help us simplify our decisions regarding what is wise and what is foolish? What drives the Common Good? Do we want all our citizens to earn living wages? How can that best be accomplished? Is affordable, accessible, and available health care a right or a privilege? What is the most productive way to protect our populace from harm whether caused by internal threats or external ones? When we take the time to discuss our values, the answers to our tax situation will become clearer.

The parable of the lamps tells us to be ready to serve the Bridegroom who represents Christ. Such service includes our having a good sense of Christ’s values, so we are prepared to respond when called.

Prayer: Lord, we pray for all our elected leaders as they make decisions that will impact the lives of every citizen and ask that you grant them clarity of insight. Guide each of us as citizens to participate as responsible citizens of our nation. Guide us also in our work as citizens of your Kingdom. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.


Sent to Serve

Living in the Spirit
July 3, 2017

Scripture Reading: Genesis 24:34-36, 42-49, 58-67

So he said, ‘I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has.

 ‘I came today to the spring, and said, “O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, ‘Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,’ and who will say to me, ‘Drink, and I will draw for your camels also’—let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.” –Genesis 24:34-36, 42-44

“That’s a God thing.” is my normal response when something appropriate happens that results in wholeness, oneness, or justice. I usually say the phrase in hindsight. In the midst of life, I think most of us respond with instinct, although I too like Abraham’s servant send prayers for guidance.

Instinct should not be whatever will happen, happens. Paul talks about Christ’s followers being like well-trained athletes. When a player is on the court or the field, his or her body and mind must meld together instantly in response to the movements of the other person or team. Really good athletes usually possess natural talents, and they enhance those talents with hour after hour of intense workouts, the study of opponents, shared wisdom from a coach, and practice, lots of practice.

Christ followers are charged with similar tasks designed to hone our whole being with the goal of serving God with all our hearts, minds, strength, and souls. Such preparation allows immediate response when indicated. Someone caught and saved a baby dropped from the 11th floor of a burning building recently in England. Most of us are rarely required to respond to such a serious circumstance. All of us live in communities where children are falling through the cracks of poverty, hunger, and inability to take full advantage of available education. There is something each of us can do to catch these children before they fall. It may take dusting off some old skills or learning some new ones. Start now, for the opportunity awaits.

Prayer: Lord, help us to find our niche in serving others and when needed to hone our skills in preparation. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.