Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Discipleship of Faith – Then and Now

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

~Colossians 2:6-7 (NRSV).

This passage I recall seeing as the mantra for many a Christian group. It seems to summarise and introduce at the same time. There is perhaps a flow to these two verses with each concept leading to another; concluding beautifully with grace.

Jesus Christ was Their (and Is Our) Lord

For those First Century believers they had just come to the Lord — this one and only living God, and the presentation and acquisition of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ stead.

How often do we stop to reflect for a moment; the Creator of the universe has made his home in us. Habitation has now occurred. God in us.

What leads onwards then, once we have this Presence of God from within, is the willingness to actually walk with God.

Walking With God

The Apostle Paul has called those first believers at Colosse to do what we’re also to do, now, today. By living our lives in Christ we’re walking in step with God.

In keeping with Micah 6:8 we know that walking with God realises a need for great humility. This means we’re to be so surrendered to God that we no longer take delight in controlling our lives without deeper thought of impact and consequence. A Spiritual wisdom is ushered in.

Rooted (Founded), Built Up and Established – in the Faith

The flow takes a vacation here as we find Paul describing the process of their, and now our, discipleship in Christ.

Gaining salvation is the commencement of a journey to and in faith. It is in this that we’re ‘rooted’, but it’s only when we take the offer seriously that we venture earnestly with God, allowing ourselves to be ‘built up’. Many, many new believers forego this or aren’t followed-up and so they don’t get the right grounding.

Perhaps we can see, consequently, that being ‘established’ is coming to some form of reliable maturity in the faith, and even to the commitment to ‘marrying’ ourselves to growth in the faith.

As They Were or We Are Taught

This is a concluding or explanatory concept. It alludes to the fact that to become established in the faith there has necessarily been much teaching — through our being mentored by others and through the direct inspiration of God.

As we’ve been taught, we’re to be committed to being taught.

Abounding in Thanksgiving

Any mature believer will be a thankful person at root. They cannot be any other way.

Unthankful so-called ‘mature’ believers are an anachronism of faulty discipleship.

Our growth in matters of discipleship means that a foci on thanksgiving as an ongoing thread is vital. Those teaching younger Christians in the faith, therefore, have an urgent responsibility to ensure they themselves are fundamentally thankful in just about all they do, and where this is not so they’re to be models of dutiful and prompt repentance.

We have much more to be thankful of in this life than we could ever truly present thanks for. This helps us see the light of our fullness, in the matter and state of being, in Christ.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ashamed of the Gospel? Never!

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes...

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’.”

~Romans 16a, 17 (NIV).

For years I professed to be a Christian and never lived that way. Sure, I had more than a passing interest in the Bible and I prayed — at meals we even said grace. But that was about it as far as living the Christian faith was concerned.

A Fantastic Thing

Then a fantastic thing happened: my world as I knew it fell apart. And as a result of this I fell interminably into the arms of God — the true God; with the Jesus who died and became resurrected, and who ascended into heaven; he saved me — about thirteen years after I had originally been “saved.”

This ‘fantastic thing’ that happened to me, I didn’t know at the time, really. All I was doing — though I didn’t think of it at the time — was living by faith for the first time in my “saved” life. I was actually living like a saved person should. For, the righteous, as Paul says, will live by faith.

Not Ashamed of God’s Custom-Designed Saving Power

When we know the miraculous saving power of God’s undying grace to forgive and restore — because we’re living by faith and power is self evident — we’re anything but ashamed of the reality of our saving — of being ‘born again’ of the Spirit. We want everyone to know and to experience this wonderful power of God.

For the dynamism of God’s power is so multi-dimensional we cannot grasp it. It’s the very power each of us needs to solve the very problems each of us has — or at least to explain the problem to us in ways that makes sense. God is a healer, a provider, a guide; but that’s not all. He is so much more. He is even different in manifestation from one person to the next — this is why he’s a personal, relational God. He reveals himself to us in personal ways.

We’re defined as “righteous” by means of our living by faith. Many people confuse the term “righteous” — it’s not the proud self-righteousness you could be thinking it is. It’s something totally different.

True Righteousness

Righteousness is simply about placing our lives in God’s hands by faith — to walk humbly with him. This, when placed on a notional pride-humility continuum, is at the rank opposite end to self-righteousness, for it is surrender — but only to God’s Spirit and will and power. Faith is surrender to God in order that through it our best is finally realised.

And God is faithful to our faith, which is similar to one believer being faithful to another in their faith. Faith is the divine connection, linking the action of the gospel — in righteousness — to the ever-present power of God. Faith from first to last holds us in our growth in God, assuring it — it exists through and through.[1]

I know what people experience when they hesitate in witnessing to their faith — I did too. But no more. I don’t care what I look like or what others might think of me when the subject of Jesus comes up — so long as God is glorified, for there are many ways that God is not glorified if we’re not prudent. Everyone should know that God is the power for salvation for everyone who believes.

He saves us daily — if we will only live by faith and thus be called righteous (by God’s grace, a believer).

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

[1] John Stott, The Message of Romans – The Bible Speaks Today series (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1994), p. 60.

Psalm 59 – Please, God, Have the Final Word!

“O my strength, I will watch for you;

for you, O God, are my fortress.”

~Psalm 59:9 (NRSV).

Fear does funny things to our sense of safety. Whether the issues we are in fear of are real or just perceived could very well be beside the point. We’re reconciled to looking over our shoulders.

This is King David’s context; his house is under watch by Saul’s marauders, and this enemy prowl like dogs ready to devour him as a meal. Above all this they blaspheme God in their contempt of life.

Additionally, David is involved in a plea to God; he begs the Lord to institute prompt and finalising justice, but interestingly he doesn’t want them killed — just taught a lesson (verse 11) so Israel would again know the faithfulness of the redeeming Lord: their Shield.

Times of Ambush and Pursuit

Though we don’t live in times of war — apart from the splintering of conflicts abroad — we are subject to much conflict. Perhaps gossip and innuendo are two relevant examples.

We’re no strangers to ambush and the pursuit of others — again, some of these issues can even be fabricated in our own minds as we spring to our own defence. We mimic the Davidic mindset by fashion of paranoia. It’s a very human problem.

Regardless of the issues we can sometimes feel very alone in our conflicts; wondering why God won’t fight for us. Surely this holy Lord can see the graphic injustices? This is what David sees and feels — faith that God will save him; but just when?

Harmed rapport is not easily reconciled. Limited eye contact with those we think are opposed to us is a giveaway to this. Of course, we feel the same way. We tend to affirm and reaffirm evidences of strained relations; most of us can’t hide our innate feelings; our body language betrays us for honesty.

God’s Love and Comfort During Trials

Somehow David felt the calming love of God’s comforting hand guiding him in this toughest of times. He drew close to God, and drew upon his faith, instead of succumbing to fear; that would have been an understandable reaction.

Like coming to a fork in a road, we have the choice; we’ll often go a cowardly way — succumbing to the fear and conflict, in submission or aggression — when with foresight and awareness the courageous way is not that much harder. Assertiveness to petition God was David’s response.

The courageously assertive way is not only empowering, it’s also facilitating a direct pathway to God’s love and comfort during trial. Courage begets comfort.

Waiting on God’s Justice to Come

In Psalm 59 there is no sign of justice coming to this situation. We are left with David’s hope; yet, it is unanswered.

The initial outlook is not good. But realistically this psalm portrays life as we also know it; many of our prayers seem to go unanswered. That there is no obvious victory noted in this psalm of David’s validates our reality — the Lord doesn’t pander to royalty or to us, necessarily. Unanswered prayers have a purpose in having us grow past our desires and into destinies of further maturity.

This psalm shows us that there is hope beyond the worst of circumstances — that if David can hope, so can we. Vindication is still coming!

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Desires of Your Heart

“Commit your way to the LORD;

trust in him, and he will act.

He will make your vindication shine like the light,

and the justice of your cause like the noonday.”

~Psalm 37:5-6 (NRSV).

It’s not always the case that we feel bullied by enemies or life circumstances, but it does occur often enough that Psalm 37 commends to us a form of trust of inbound faith for those whose desires are in the delight of the Lord.

Ever is there a paradox of commitment.

What the Lord requires of us is a simple transaction; one that commends a holy power.

Denying One Power to Reap Another

If we deny the power of envy at wickedness, and choose instead to obey the power that dwells in hope, the vindication of our trust is a simple and sure matter. These are the promises of God; they’re no shallow fabrication.

And in the meantime — before we take possession of this marvellous hope — we are indwelled with the peace of the Holy Spirit; the pre-occupation with envy cannot have us.

Time is not really the matter against us if we were to struggle for hope; it’s our own pride, lust for acquisition, or impatience that are the real issues.

God Always Wins

God wins. Who’d want to be on the side that God’s not on, seriously?

The desires of our hearts, if matched with the will of God, will certainly take place. Indeed, it is a fact that the desires of our hearts shift more readily than we care to think of right now. As human beings we think very statically. We don’t see ourselves changing our minds. But the reality is we do change our minds. We only have to cast back a couple of years, comparing that to now, to discover this truth.

God always wants the best for us, even if we cannot see it.

When we take a longer term perspective, noting also the truth that God always wins, we can successfully match the desires of our hearts with the Lord’s seceding will — that one calling us away from our carnality.

There’s a better bunch of desires to be had.

We do need to believe, however, that God really does want the best for this, and for us to be uniquely content. Furthermore, who could possibly deliver better blessings than God?

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Humanity’s Inalienable Spiritual Identity

“Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer by Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome’.”

~Genesis 32:28 (NIV).

We’re connected not just via the anatomy and physiology of our red blood cells, eyes and hands. Human connection is established through our eternal hope — the idea that we’re birthed from a mother, that we die one day, and the fact that our spirits come from God and return there.

The Significance of Jacob’s Struggle

Jacob’s context is enticing. The ‘man’ — later recognised as possibly an angel of the Lord — picks a fight with him. Jacob’s response is to struggle for his life. God honours him with the name of a great nation; a name with surprising significance.

Jacob’s honoured not so much because of birthright — in context of the verse — but by what he does. The regal stature of his line is backed up in regal action.

Israel’s Significance

It’s easy to underestimate the worth of the concept of “Israel”. The name is so theologically rich there’s no way we can do justice to it here. But there is one thing that commands our attention.

This passage above shows the nature of “Israel” is to struggle and to eventually overcome. Indeed, we know from our own lives that struggle is an inherent part of the human experience; that of conquest. There’s no choice in it. We swim or we sink.

Israel” has less to do with being Jewish or Christian, perhaps, than it has to do with being appropriately human — that virtuous nature to struggle well. It’s easy to see that anyone who struggles in a hopeful way in life is identified with Israel.

Now, this is only one point, but I think you’ll agree that it turns our minds in another more integrative direction... the true direction of the Lord God.

Our Common Spiritual Genome

Those dividers of humanity — the agents of Satan — are set on partition and war. Evil divides to conquer. God’s plan is always about integration under a common bond, at love. This is precisely why God designed life with such commonality intelligently premeditated into creation.

We cannot get beyond this commonality, and in the end it will be the winning of us. God’s redemptive plan will reach a pulsating finality in it. But repentance is still a key in identifying with God, for to struggle well is to repent.

A Challenge to Live Aligned to Our Identity

We have a Jacob-like challenge. Best are we to struggle with God and with life. Some might think this is weird. Surely we’re to trust and obey God, and not ‘struggle’ with him?

There is a fact of life beyond this desire to please God. Our brokenness is set against obeying God. Whether we like it or not we will struggle with God and life. It’s our destiny whilst we stride the earth. Jacob did it and so will we.

But God wants to bless us. There is a Divine desire to see us willingly struggle, fighting the good fight. God believes in us; that we can struggle well and succeed. As we employ all the moral virtue at hand we will overcome. We will succeed. That’s the ‘deeper magic’ of God at work against the sirens of Satan.

Our fundamental identity is set in struggling well to overcome. What follows is blessing.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: http://www.identity-fraud-theft-protection-prevention.com/.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Unity, The Spiritual Gifts, Truth and Love

“But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”

~Ephesians 4:15-16 (NRSV).

Abundant strength in all departments, any good team has few (if any) weak links. It is not a complement of stars, but a star complement.

The giver of gifts — the Father of Lights (James 1:17) — has apportioned gifting for each one in the Body of Christ: an entity for the glorification of God here on earth and the worship of God in heaven. Those individual gifts must complement the overall sortie-of-grace or God isn’t glorified and the mission of the Church is diminished.

Awkwardness of Maintaining a Functioning Body

The older I get the more I realise the aches and pains of the physical body, though my lower back was much worse twenty years ago than it is now.

Notwithstanding, we injure ourselves and deal with niggles all the time. If it’s not a sore neck then we have a digestive problem, or we’re depressed, or we have limited use of another part of our bodies. It can seem a massive task just getting the body to the starting line at times.

At any one time there is at least one thing wrong with my body; no sooner do I ‘welcome’ the newest ailment, the old one gone I’m thankful for, praying it won’t revisit me.

In much the same way issues and contentions mount up against the Body of Christ. Links of any chain come under surprising sudden strain. They contend against the body’s maturity.

The Body’s Growth to/in Maturity

Just like the physical body — which is governed in certain ways by the mind (beyond external limitations) — the Body of Christ is governed by the Spirit of God.

The purpose of both bodies is to function — efficiently and with effect.

Through the select and grace-apportioned use of gifts, the Body of Christ is honed and hopefully poised to glorify God here on earth to the very heights of the will of God. Per the physical body setting itself to run life’s race, everything is prepared and all risks are to be mitigated. Both are wisdom activities... like running in machine-like unison.

Maturity is the hope for the realisation of optimisation. In other words, when life turns real we want a body fit for duty — one that can attend to both the diversity of the task (using all the body parts or gifts required) and task specifics.

The body serves us (and the Body, the Lord) and not the other way around. Additionally, the individual body part serves the overall body, and the disciple with their gift serves the Body of Christ, not the other way around. But there are also times when the larger part (the body/Body) ministers to the smaller as a parent helps a child.

Speaking the truth in love is the very manifestation of the mature Body’s modus operandi. It’s a key sign that the Body is fit for the task God gives it.

It is most important that the Church attains and maintains the fullness of Christ these very ways. Each of us has a key role; to exercise our gifts and our overall way, maturely.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mutual Submission in Marriage

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

~Ephesians 5:21 (NIV).

Many of us are in marriages where conditional acceptance, on some issues, reigns. Despite what either partner prefers they’d be, the heart of one or another jumps to the forefront. Before long stinging words leach out at break-neck speed, the anger and hurt propagating anger and hurt.

Now, to Ephesians 5:21. Note that there’s a full paragraph break between verse 21 and what follows. This is telling us that submission is common to both husband and wife.

It’s also saying, as plainly as possible, that we’re “subject to one another” as the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) has it.

Mutual Submission – Individually Propagated

This is not a dependent submission.

It’s not based on condition that one would submit; no, it’s based on the commitment, each to the other, to submit. It’s to be individually inspired and motivated.

Independent of the other partner’s will to submit is the passionate commitment of each partner to sway toward the mate, predicated in love. The wife will do this as if obeying the Lord (Ephesians 5:22); the husband, even more so, because like Christ gave himself up for the church, he is to die to himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).

So, it’s compelling submission both ways.

Understanding the Prevalence of Sin in the Marriage Relationship

Because we have this ongoing battle going on inside each of us, and that the intrapersonal relationship is every bit a microcosm of the interpersonal relationship of marriage, we must simply expect transgressions will occur. It’s unreasonable to expect minimal conflict in marriage. Should transgressions be minimised in consequence and frequency? Yes, most certainly. Still, they’ll occur.

Unconditional submission — each to the other without condition that the other submits — is necessary to counter this fact of sin.

Unconditional submission is hence seen as God’s perfect marital rule — instituted before the Fall — with the eternal power to crush sin. When we use it, we agree to be party to its power.

From perception of ‘doormat’ to ‘real spiritual strength of Christlike love’ we have in an instant freed ourselves of the burden to compare sinfully. This is removing thought of reaction-in-light-of-comparison for thought of hiddenness-with-Christ-in-God (Colossians 3:3). More simply again, our action is not subject to what they do or don’t do; our action is dependent only on the principle of love, which has no bounds.

From Submission to Freedom

This is what we really need to know. It’s another perfect biblical irony.

As one person in a marriage boldly and sincerely submits to their partner they reap not weakness but power — for the partnership. It’s blessing that’s acquired; as if on loan so long as the sincere submission behaviour continues.

Now, if a wife can submit to the husband as the church unto Christ — recalling the church is not perfect yet — and the husband is to give himself for her, like Christ did perfectly at the cross, the most fervent power of submission is actually borne by the husband. Marriage will never reach its potential — both partners reaping lucid joy — unless the husband submits.

Men, this is a difficult pill for us to swallow. The truth, no matter how difficult it is to reconcile, is irrefutable.

Both must submit for the marriage to succeed as God originally designed it to; but the husband’s submission carries more weight.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trusting Our ‘Equalising’ God

“Search as hard as you like, you’re not going to make sense of it. No matter how smart you are, you won’t get to the bottom of it.”

~Ecclesiastes 8:17b (Msg).

This confounding reality is actually very good news, for all of us. Such is the way of life that none get too far ahead or too far behind through the fashion of ‘luck’; only the trying.

We go into any primary or elementary school in the world and we’ll note divisions. Some students are ahead — socially, academically, emotionally — and some are behind. Pride gets to some of the former, and humiliation becomes the latter.

Then in the matter of progression in life these students are thrust from this junior school into middle-school and then onto senior-school; with each change comes fresh chances at ‘equalising’. In Monopoly terms, we go back to “go” without collecting our $200. We all do.

For the one who’s perhaps messed up his or her life in their twenties, life’s not over. Fast forward time ten or fifteen years and they could be just as well ‘ahead’ of those who previously looked down on them with proud disapproval; those who, only now, have tasted a failure or five. There is, now, emotional congruence between the two.

However strange this phenomenon is, it is life.

Failure brings darkness; from darkness a better light is issued; real life is tasted; God equals the score and blessed are we with enhanced understanding.

Ecclesiastes – An ‘Equalising’ Book

The nature of this holy wisdom book — a work that has confused and frustrated many a Christian, scholar and theologian — is around equalisation. It states simply that we cannot work God, or the nature of life, out. Such is life, it appears.

This is not frustrating as much as it’s beautiful. God’s in control.

A life like this favours not one over another. No kings are so gifted not to be apportioned cancer. No pauper is guaranteed misery all their life, for joy is invented within. No one can predict blessing to come into their lives.

Ecclesiastes merely calls our attention to the meaninglessness in striving beyond the strains of our own capacity to engineer the results of life.

A Corrective for Envy

Comparison is the death of us when we take it beyond healthy means or ends. But when we install this truth of life that one is not favoured over another — beyond sensible realms anyway — and that the swings and roundabouts of life turn their way indiscriminately, we’re free from this sin of lack; the propensity to look ever over the comparative fences of life.

This, again, is truly fantastic news for all lowly souls right now. Your time is coming! Those enjoying all the blessing now may continue to do so; and then again things could change. Blessing, so far as it’s personally experienced, comes and goes. Sad is the person at different levels for the blessings enjoyed at some time in the past that are no longer experienced. They had their time but now no longer. (For instance — this must surely help us have compassion on those bankrupts betrayed by the cruel bending of life.)

James was spot on when he said:

“Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it.”

~James 1:10b (Msg).

Our felt experience of life and of God must run beyond where we’re at and what we’ve achieved. God’s not standing for an elevated position for anyone beyond what perhaps the actual circumstances deserve, and even then it can’t be counted on.

Praise God that this Spirit of Life is higher, and ‘fairer,’ than us all.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Psalm 135 – God’s Might Will Endure

“For I know that the Lord is great;

our Lord is above all gods.

Whatever the Lord pleases he does,

in heaven and on earth,

in the seas and all deeps.”

~Psalm 135:5-6 (NRSV).

There are some things that can be relied upon to never change, ever. The Lord, the God and Origin of all creation, has been intimately involved in the creative works of history, from beginning to end — as if time could be used as a worthy descriptor of history, a.k.a., ‘his story’. Nothing happens without God’s say-so.

As far as we’re all concerned, God’s acts will continue to endure (Psalm 135:13).

God of The Exodus

Like very many of the psalms there’s a short ode to the classic redemptive works of the Lord. Allusion is made of the Ten Plagues from Exodus 7–12 and of historical delivery of the Israelites throughout the pre-Christian era (verses 8-12).

Bridging contexts in teleported style, we can readily see that the Lord is the God of our exoduses too. Yes, we too have been delivered, and we continue to be delivered. Each breath we take is, of a form, a delivery of its own.

The Meteorological God

We can ‘blame’ God for the weather, truly. God makes all this (verse 7). But God is more; much more — our very meteorological God indicates something far bigger.

God’s creating something bigger than clouds, lightning and rain, yet these summon the glory of a God we’re wholly dependent upon for a living environment that will sustain us. What a fine balance the Lord provides via our climate in this earthly life.

The Facts of a ‘BIG’ God

We human beings don’t tend to think in terms of instinctual truth — or certainly not at the level of the Divine. And this is one truth we miss all the time. It’s normal for us to think small, egocentrically and internally. We miss so much of life from this limited spiritual aspect.

But so often we think our way is right, and often — in fact — we’re wrong. The more ‘right’ we are tends more to the grossness of our assumptions.

Putting our problems alongside this big God of ours, and the weight of the problem soon de-materialises and transforms.

Praise – Beginning and End

As do many of the psalms, this one commences with reminiscences of Israel’s praise and it ends with a renewed call to praise this wondrous God.

Anytime we’re found in a mood of praise we’re necessarily thankful, and thankfulness — via Cicero — is the parent of all virtue. God is virtue as much as love. Even better for us to be thankful, praising God, for the wonderful things he’s given us, and for just who this Divine Being is.

This psalm is one that has much pungent substance. This pungent substance is used as a hinge during the body of the psalm. The introduction and the conclusion of the psalm are adding their attribution of praise for the goodness and greatness of God, via the Divine acts and the mind-blowing nature of the God Most High.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Further Reading: Allan M. Harman, A Commentary on the Psalms – A Mentor Commentary (Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1998), pp. 422-24.

In the Name of Jesus, “What I Have I Give You”

Peter said to the crippled beggar, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk... immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”

~Acts 3:6-8 (NRSV).

It is normal for every single one of us to really doubt what it is of us we can bring to the seat of God, to offer our fellow humanity in Jesus’ name.

The ‘qualified’ or thinking believer will smell a concoction of falsity in that. Is it us bringing what we have, or is it merely about us offering ourselves so God can use us for anointed purposes? Certainly the latter appeals as we consider we have nothing to offer God that he doesn’t already have.

Yet, we are the feet and hands of Jesus, or God-in-skin.

Peter’s Paradox – the Beggar’s ‘Eternal’ Windfall

Isn’t it an amazing reality that of all things Peter couldn’t give it was that which met the transient, less needy, need?

God’s like that.

We get more, much more, than we bargain for in God’s ministry to our souls; deeper does this healing of God go than a material need could ever truly satisfy.

Yet, Peter states it matter-of-factly and simply performs the miracle. He satisfied the beggar’s truest need. What Peter had to give was perfect. Not another gift could ever match it. This gift rocked the eternal world of this crippled beggar.

Sensing Needs and Doing What We Can

If we can, we do the same thing as Peter.

“What... do healing miracles?” I hear you say.

Well, as we consider our powerlessness to produce healing miracles at will — a select ministry; a gift beyond the vast majority — and therefore become downcast, we can also just as easily re-read the passage and recoil over the words, “What I have I give you.”

Stunned for a moment we think... “I can do something.”

Needs in this world are most often framed in the simple space of uncommon kindnesses. Loving patience and less-than-common grace flow through the person in doing what they can, with what they have to give.

Not much, perhaps, but many times what we have on us is just enough. The grace of God’s provision is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). What we have on us is also sufficient for the need right before us, and certainly it’s within our resources to get more if there’s the need of it.

People are never normally asking the world of us. Needs are generally simpler, and easier to accomplish, than that.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.