Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!
Sunday's Scripture ~ John 21:1-14.
Devotional Scripture ~ James 1:5-6.
Knowledge is simply knowing. Wisdom is knowing paired with healthy perspective(s) to guide sound judgments both about the knowledge and when (and how) to share and (or) apply it.
The Apostle James, in our devotional text this week, instructs us to ask for wisdom. Not only does God want us to have information - not only does God want us to be knowledgeable - God wants us to understand how we are to act towards one another with what we know.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, said that the whole of Scripture could be summarized in one word - love.
Through receiving God's wisdom, we grow to understand how we are to act towards one another with what we know. No matter the circumstance, no matter the interaction, no matter the place, no matter the time, no matter the person, our actions are to be of and cultivate love.
We know that love is not always easy. Much of the time it is hard fought.
Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose Tico in Star Wars Episode VIII. Near the end of the film she and the other members of the Resistance engage in a battle with The First Order on the Planet Crait. The Resistance is outnumbered, out-crafted, out-defensed. Finn, another Resistance fighter, decides he is going to risk himself to end the battle, and likely end his life, but Rose rams her speeder into his, which knocks him off course. Their speeders collide, and Finn runs to find her in the wreckage. He asks her why she did what she did. Rose responds,
"We're going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love!"
We desire to save because of God's love. We desire to work towards saving because of God's love. This is the work of sanctification or saving grace - the grace by which we are made holy.
Friends, remember with me the opening words I Corinthians 13, written by the Apostle Paul,
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing (vv. 1-3).
We could have all the knowledge and abilities and talents and resources and status and popularity and accolade...but if we do not have love - if we do not have the wisdom as received from God to shape healthy perspectives about what we have been given and guide us in sound judgments about how, with whom, and why we steward what we have been given - we are, as Paul says, noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.
We gain nothing.
James says if we lack wisdom to ask God for it in faith, and God will generously provide. Gifting one person - and certainly all peoples! - with wisdom will transform life as we know it. God is in the business of transformation, and wants us to join 'the family show.'
Our joining begins with our asking for wisdom in faith - confident we will receive and confident that God's wisdom will guide us in all we do.
Reflection: List the situations in your life where you want to be wise. Pray, believing that God will help you.
Prayer: “Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do. Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure, until with thee I will one will, to do and to endure."* Amen.
*”Breathe On Me, Breath of God,” The United Methodist Hymnal 420. **Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal