MENTORING MOMENTS – GO AND DO LIKEWISE

TUESDAY, APRIL 12TH
A TIME FOR A STORY

This familiar story has a way of deeply touching our souls, inviting us to expand in love, to extend our idea of what it means to love our neighbor. Jesus begins…

Just then a lawyer stood up to test me. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” I said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And I said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

But wanting to justify himself, he asked me, “And who is my neighbor?” I replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” I said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37, NRSV, revised*)

As you sit quietly with Jesus, what do you sense his invitation is for you today? Is there a particular person you are struggling to love? What is your greatest challenge in this story? Which is more difficult for you to share in order to help others – your financial resources, your abilities, or your time? Let the Spirit guide your heart for a few moments.

Reflection:

Jim and I are so fortunate to live in a neighborhood with people who are easy to love, who cooperate, and who try to get along well. We find this a great blessing, because we once lived in another area where this was not the case (two neighbors found fault with our property lines, even after both parties had the lots surveyed and learned that we were correct). Jim and I first tried to befriend, then to be helpful, then to be kind, and then just to peacefully appease the ones who were giving us trouble, but the situation never changed. Living there was very uncomfortable, because we finally just tried to avoid or ignore the difficult people bordering our yard. My spirit saddens when I recall this feeling.

And these are the neighbors Jesus tells us to love.

We are called to love the people who are different from us, but also those who differ with us.

This story of the Good Samaritan so clearly shows us who are neighbors are. The ones we are especially called to love are the ones who are especially difficult to love. The ones we encounter when the time isn’t convenient. The ones whose beliefs, values, or perspectives differ. The ones who need our mercy beyond our usual or easier acts of kindness.

Isn’t it interesting that we never learn how the injured man responded to the Samaritan’s kindness? That part of the story does not matter to Jesus. Jim wrote notes, took gifts of bread, and even shoveled snow from our neighbors’ sidewalks. Our relationship never changed. The outcome of our kindness does not matter. We are called to be kind, to show mercy, to be generous, to be loving to our neighbor – with no expectation but to serve and honor Jesus.

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:40, NRSV)



Dear Reader Friends, in my ongoing effort to promote peace, nonviolence, and goodwill for one another, I will not abide comments that do not. Thank you for understanding.



Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.

MENTORING MOMENTS – UNBIND HIM

MONDAY, APRIL 11TH
A TIME OF COMFORT

Today we gather for one more word of comfort from our mentor, Jesus. He begins by remembering the time when his friend Lazarus had died. As Jesus was heading to Bethany, Martha, the sister of Lazarus, met him on the way. He shares the story with us…

I said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to me, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” I said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to me, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Then I, …greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. I said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to me, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” I said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And I looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When I had said this, I cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. I said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:23-27, 38-44 , NRSV, revised*)

If you have time, sit with this story for a few minutes and imagine yourself as Lazarus. What sensations do you feel? What are you thinking? How would it feel to come out of the tomb into the light of day? How would your life change from that point on?

Reflection:

Here in the resurrection of Lazarus, we get a glimpse of what was ahead for Jesus, and one day, for us. This Holy Week, as the terrible crucifixion of Jesus looms before us, and we must await the beautiful resurrection, this story of Jesus bringing Lazarus to life serves as a present comfort we can cling to, here and now.

Martha knew of the resurrection on the last day, but in this story, Jesus let her witness it that very day. I have often written of this before, but this is worth repeating: our salvation is for here and now. One of the best things I have even been told were words from a dear friend during a terrible trial in my life. “There is always a resurrection, Karen. Your life will look and be different, but it will be new life.” In many incredible ways, his words have proven true.

Our faith helps us to see the smaller daily resurrections, while also giving us the hope of our complete, glorious, and final resurrection. New life, perhaps even richer life, comes after every trial and sorrow during our earthly lives, and we will one day enjoy even better days. We are already being made new. So, for me today, Jesus’s words, “Unbind him, and let him go,” touch my soul deeply. We can shed all that binds and encumbers us today. We are meant to live our lives in that freedom from fear, in the unbinding of all that would keep us from truly living lives of joy and peace.

The story is never over. There will always be a resurrection.



(Throughout the Lenten season, my blogger-writer friend, Charlotte, has kindly shared my posts on her site. Thank you, Charlotte! Here is a link to her Hope Seeker site, a good place to find other inspirational posts: https://charlotteannrobinson.com/)



Photo by Steven Erixon on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.

MENTORING MOMENTS – BECOMING A PEACEMAKER

FRIDAY, APRIL 8TH
A TIME OF BLESSING

We come for our Friday blessing from our mentor Jesus today. We may be noticing that within some of these blessings there is also a calling – but that calling then returns the blessing. Today, Jesus’s words are few but profound.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9 NRSV)

As you sit with this blessing, you might gratefully think of the peacemakers in your life. As you think of people of peace, what visible characteristics do you notice? What inner qualities are evident in them? Can you recall a time when you were a peacemaker? What were the challenges? What were your strengths? How might this blessing be a calling for you today? How might this calling be a blessing for you today?

Reflection:

Years ago, I worked as a customer service representative for the phone company. Quite often, I would receive a call from an angry customer, obviously frustrated with an issue, who began the conversation in a tirade before I had a chance to speak. I then would need to be the peacemaker – remaining gracious, kind, and gentle as I tried to help. This was my responsibility as a customer service representative, so I had been well-trained on how to respond, I had the resources to help, and most of the time, I truly wanted to be the helpful peacemaker. But here is the main reason I remained a peacemaker in those situations:

At any time, without my knowledge, my supervisor could remotely listen in on my conversations! 🙂

No, I wasn’t a saint who naturally could keep calm, speak softly, seek understanding, and get past the anger to help the caller. I just recognized that I was the representative of the company – and the company was observing.

Perhaps this could be our useful practice as we try to live as representatives of Christ. In our thoughts, words, and actions, we can bear in mind that Jesus is quietly observing us, too. And through his Spirit, he also provides the resources we need, the wisdom we seek, and the countenance we can keep for our times of frustration and trial. We can be peacemakers as we remember that we are children of God, ever helped and never alone, in every conflict and confusion.

I am certain you also have experienced that special serenity when you were able to remain calm, diffuse someone’s anger, and resolve an issue. Any peacemaking we can do will bring peace to ourselves as well. When we can bring opposing sides together, refrain from “adding fuel to the fire”, and work to bring peace, people will begin to recognize that this visible peace is coming from beyond ourselves. Through this peace revealed in gentleness, kindness, a non-anxious spirit, and a willingness to listen and learn, they will know that we are children of God.

“When things change inside you, things change around you.” —Unknown


Photo by Ramiro Martinez on Unsplash
Bible verse found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

MENTORING MOMENTS – TURNING THE TABLES

THURSDAY, APRIL 7TH
A TIME OF SHARED STRUGGLE

When we meet with Jesus today, he first shares a little background information. In the story we now remember on Palm Sunday, Jesus had just entered Jerusalem on a donkey with the crowds gathered around him – shouting their praises, honoring him, and claiming him as their prophet and messiah. Imagine their surprise as Jesus begins telling us what happened next:

Then I entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and I overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. I said to them, “It is written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;
    but you are making it a den of robbers.”

(Matthew 21:12-13, NRSV, revised*)

In these quiet moments, place yourself inside the temple. As you see Jesus turning over the tables and seats, what would be your reaction? Would you be shocked? Would you be grateful? Would you stay to see what he does next, or would you run? Would you be surprised that Jesus could become angry? What might Jesus be revealing to you in this story?

Reflection:

The money changers and dove sellers were not there to help people worship God, but to make a profit. The temple had become a place where the people were cheated, the poor were exploited, and worship was restricted to those who could afford the monetary exchanges and purchases. We can imagine how frustrated and angry Jesus could have been, that a place intended for prayer and worship had become a place that hurt and cheated people.

Where would Jesus find fault with our religions and churches today? I have been learning about the ways in which various evolutions of Christianity and religious hierarchies have often forgotten the purposes of Christ and forged their own. One could write many posts about these issues. But I believe that real change always begins with us as individuals, so I generally try to scrutinize and critique myself first.

Which tables in my life would Jesus want to turn – or even turn over? What changes can I make, what better ways will I find to share God’s love, and to help people to know, thank, and worship God, too?

According to www.theidioms.com, the meaning of the phrase, turn the tables includes “change your position with respect to someone else” and “turn an unfavorable circumstance into one of favor.”

I easily recognize some table turning I can do. As Christ’s representative, I can change my position with respect to others by doing more reaching out along with welcoming in. I can refrain from judging but also begin uplifting and encouraging. I can expand my prayers of concern for our world and people into actual advocacy and support. Unlike the money changers and dove sellers, I can provide helpful service without considering any potential benefit for me. I can humbly try to carry the spirit and posture of a servant as I walk this life with others.

How might I turn an unfavorable circumstance into one of favor? I can try to find and foster any good, healing, and beneficial outcomes from trying times or terrible circumstances. I can regard the sadness and tragedies of the world as an invitation to help where I can, to live differently, to work for the betterment of all people. Instead of lingering in self-pity, I can regard my own difficulties as opportunities to gain wisdom, strengthen my trust in God, open my awareness of the need for change, and feel the comfort and healing of God’s ever-present care.

I can cling to the God of all hope and peace, the One who can turn every table, the One who can make all things new…

the God we all are meant to worship together in love.



Photo by Who’s Denilo ? on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.

MENTORING MOMENTS – ALL ABOUT LOVE

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6TH
A TIME OF INSTRUCTION

As we gather for our time of instruction, Jesus invites us to come closer, holding his arms out as if to embrace us all. He looks upon us with tenderness as he begins his story…

When the Pharisees heard that I had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked a question to test me. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” I said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40, NRSV, revised*)

Spend a few minutes in the silence of Christ’s presence, simply loving and being loved.

Reflection:

Jesus gives us these three ways to love God – with all of our heart, our soul, and our mind. We also have three ways to know God – as our Creator, as Christ Jesus, and as Spirit! We can thus find God everywhere – in creation, in humanity, and in ourselves. How might we love our Triune God with all that we have and all that we are? Loving God with our heart, soul, and mind might include these ways…

I sense that loving God with all my heart is like the love we hold for those dear to us. We long for and enjoy God’s companionship, we hold God as precious, we cherish God deeply, we hope to please God, and we serve to answer God’s needs.
~ We love God the Creator through loving all of creation. We tend and appreciate our world and its universe, working to preserve the glory God made in it.
~ We love God in Christ through loving all of humanity. We serve and care for one another with compassion and kindness.
~ We love God the Spirit through loving our inner being. We nurture our souls with practices and silences that enrich and inspire.

Loving God with all my soul is like the faithful love and trust we keep within the mystery and magnificence. We embrace and share the love of God as much as we are humanly able, we love with deep surrender and humility, we seek God more than our personal needs.
~ We love God the Creator by spending time in nature, praising God and holding respect and gratitude for the earth, worshiping God by honoring what God has made.
~ We love God in Christ as we celebrate diversity and seek Christ’s presence in everyone. We gather in community to love and serve as Christ would in our world today.
~ We love God in Spirit through welcoming God’s abiding presence, living our lives in faith and trust, tending our spirituality with practices and prayers, and absorbing God’s love within us and letting it emanate from us.

Loving God with all my mind is like the love we honor through our thoughts, information, and insights. We try to keep God first in our decisions, our choices, our plans.
~We love God the Creator as we seek the wisdom of each season, observe the lessons found in nature, and learn new ways to preserve and protect our planet.
~ We love God in Christ as we increase our knowledge of the life and teachings of Jesus so that we may more closely follow his example in our relationships. We learn to share his words of wisdom, encouragement, and insight with those around us.
~ We love God in Spirit by allowing time for mindfulness and contemplation. We remain vigilant about the information we are absorbing, choose what is pleasing and worthy of our thoughts, use difficult lessons as tools for wisdom and maturity.

You may think of other ways to love our omnipresent God with everything we have and are. As we keep deepening in love for God, the instruction of Jesus to love your neighbor as yourself will more generously and naturally flow. Our love will become more complete, perfect, and whole as a natural result of God’s generous and gracious love for us – and our love in return.


Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted into first-person by Karen.

MENTORING MOMENTS – TO SAY OR TO DO

TUESDAY, APRIL 5TH
A TIME FOR A STORY

As we gather with Jesus for our Tuesday story, Jesus first gives us a little background information. He explains that, after the chief priests and elders witnessed his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and people gathered to shout his praises, they became desperate to question Jesus and find fault with him. He then decided to tell them this parable:

What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, “The first.” I said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him. (Matthew 21:28-32, NRSV)

Sit with this story for a few moments. When have you felt like the first son, agreeing to do something but not following through? When have you felt like the second son, initially refusing but then changing your mind? Were there any regrets? Any unexpected blessings? How is Jesus touching your soul with this parable today?

Reflection:

This story brings to mind Jesus’s initial call for his disciples to “follow me.” Oh my, I find it much easier to say, “I will follow you!” than to actually follow. I can be like the second son, readily saying, “I will go!” because I am eager to please Jesus, but also because I am only thinking of the personal benefits I gain through his love for me. I am willing to follow Christ until it means I must surrender plans, make sacrifices, change my direction, or do exhausting work. The old adage, “It’s easier said than done,” certainly is true.

Today I notice the wisdom of the first son, as he refrained from committing until he had time to consider all that the work would entail. His answer initially seems rude, disrespectful, or lazy. But, given time to think, he changes his mind and does what is asked. On the other hand, there have been a few times when my quiet prayer, “Your will be done…” is quickly followed by, “…but please don’t ask me to…” I hesitate to even consider some possibilities!

The chief priests and elders were all about the words – the rules, the questions, the Bible passages to memorize and quote. The religious leaders looked religious and talked religion. But as Jesus pointed out, the tax collectors and prostitutes, who didn’t have all of this biblical word knowledge, who were far from religious, were much closer to kingdom living than they were. It seems that the words and the rules actually hindered the religious leaders from truly following Jesus. The saying impeded the doing.

God understands and welcomes our prayerful discernment. We have been given the Spirit to help us do so. When we sense a new calling, or when we are asked to commit to a new responsibility, we are wise to prayerfully weigh and consider before we answer. We will give a more definitive and committed “yes” when we first ensure a clear understanding of the time and sacrifice our commitment may require, consider our God-given gifts and passions, and truly seek to love and serve God in the best ways we can. Our prayerful, thoughtful (and sometimes delayed) “yes” is better than a swift, shallow, and showy answer that will promise little and mean nothing.

May we live our lives of faith with such integrity that our saying and our doing are one and the same, always coming from a heart that genuinely longs to love and serve God well.


Photo by Andrea Cairone on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

MENTORING MOMENTS – TO ACT OR TO PLACE (DO NOT WORRY)

MONDAY, APRIL 4TH
A TIME OF COMFORT

As we sit by Jesus, awaiting his good word, we try to release our thoughts from any troubles or concerns. But this isn’t always easy, is it? We always welcome – perhaps need – his comforting presence and words. And so Jesus begins…

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:25-33, NRSV)

Sit in the quiet as you consider this message. How do his words make you feel? Are there any worries in your thoughts today? What is Jesus saying to you?

Reflection:

“Do not worry…” Sometimes this seems impossible for me. My worries aren’t about the physical needs that Jesus names here – food and clothing – but generally about other concerns. I worry about the well-being of my loved ones, or the health of our environment, or the safety of our world. I worry about the mistakes I make in relationships or responsibilities. These intangible concerns can feel like heavy burdens at times.

Today Jesus reminds us of two things. First, God knows what we need. Second, our focus should be to strive for the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God. These two instructions show us when to act and when to place.

We can replace our worry with action, as we act to change what we can to help bring about God’s kingdom and righteousness. For example, we can take steps to ensure the well-being of others, to reduce our impact on the environment, to work for peace and justice, and to share the love of God as much as possible. We can live and work with diligence and integrity, becoming more mindful of our actions in our daily responsibilities. We can love and serve with compassion and mercy, becoming more mindful of our actions in our relationships with others. And always, we can seek forgiveness and make amends when we fail.

We can replace our worry with surrender, as we place the things we cannot change into God’s loving care. When our troubles feel beyond our capacity, we can surrender them to the One who is infinite love, who created this universe and all of eternity, of whom Jesus said, “your heavenly Father knows that we need all these things.” We can place ourselves and all of our concerns with the One who holds the future – and who love us beyond our wildest hope.

We are called to care and to help where we can, but we are not called to worry. One day at a time, one moment at a time, may we be attentive and ready to act, but also remain peaceful and free to place.


Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

MENTORING MOMENTS – PURE IN HEART

FRIDAY, APRIL 1ST
A TIME OF BLESSING

Today is Friday, our time to gather for a blessing from our mentor and friend, Jesus. He welcomes us to his side as he shares the next words from his Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes…

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8, NRSV)

As you sit in the comfort of his love and grace, what comes to mind when you hear the word, pure? What would it mean for you to be pure of heart at this moment? Is there anything to remove or at least set aside for now? How do you sense Jesus is blessing you with his words today?

Reflection:

When I hear this passage, I generally think of pure of heart as being free from our sinful ways that keep us from coming to God, at times even trying to avoid God. I also understand pure of heart as being free from our distractions – goals, schedules, other enticements – that draw our attention away from God. But today I find pure of heart as being free even from our self-perceptions, the way we see ourselves seeking God!

For example, some days when I spend time with God in prayer and reflection, I come as a writer. I am hoping to glean some guidance and inspiration for my writing – and God welcomes my prayers and blesses my time. But if my intention is to simply be with and to see God with an open heart, I need to set aside my writer’s soul. Other days I may need to clear my soul of being a worried parent, a nature enthusiast, a busy professional, a concerned advocate, or even a scared child. If we hope to be open and present to God, to know and see God as truly and fully as possible, we need to set aside our own ideas of ourselves.

Pure of heart is having no other intention except to be present to God. We come with no desires, no agendas, no comparisons to others, not even personal hopes for our time together. We even set aside our expectations of God in order for God to reveal God.

And when we can come free from self-perceptions, God has more of an opportunity to reveal who we truly are, too.



Side note: As I wrote this, I couldn’t help but think of my blogger friend, Andrew, who has a beautiful and inspirational blogsite, https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/ (as well as a book with the same name). You may want to read his posts!

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

MENTORING MOMENTS – DIFFERING OPINIONS

THURSDAY, MARCH 31ST
A TIME OF SHARED STRUGGLES

As Holy Week gradually draws closer, we wonder what Jesus may have to say to us today. What will be his story of frustration? How will we share that same struggle? We quiet ourselves to listen as Jesus begins…

While I was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as I sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on my head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But I said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” (Mark 14:3-9, NRSV, revised*)

As you sit quietly to reflect on his words, place yourself in this setting as the woman who is anointing Jesus (in the book of John, she is Mary, the sister of Lazarus). How do your feelings change as you move from adoring and blessing Jesus, to hearing the words of condemnation from the disciples, and then hearing Jesus assure them of the good you are doing for the world?

Reflection:

In many ways, I can understand the disciples’ confusion. Jesus was always teaching about loving others, about helping and feeding the poor. This woman’s extravagant act of anointing Jesus’s feet – and his acceptance of her kindness – seem out of place. But instead of asking Jesus or Mary for clarification, the disciples immediately become angry and make judgments about the waste in front of them with the need around them.

In our world of strong opinions and critical judgments, we can understand how Jesus and Mary must feel. We try to help someone, but we are criticized for not doing more, or for not choosing another way. We try to resolve or reduce the troubles of our world, but we are informed of all the reasons we cannot. Our actions can be misinterpreted, our intentions can be misunderstood. Here, some of the disciples criticized the woman and Jesus for her act of loving adoration, when she was actually performing the preparations for his burial. There was much more to her act than they could know at that time.

What can we do? Each day, we can seek God’s guidance to do our best, with the resources and information we have, to make a difference for good. And then we can take any resulting judgments, criticisms, and misunderstandings and surrender them (and the critics) to God. I once heard a wise adage to let God be our only audience. If our desire is to please and bless God by all that we say or do, then our intentions and actions will be filled with goodness, integrity, and compassion – despite what others may perceive or misconstrue.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, NRSV)


Photo by Oshin Khandelwal on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.

MENTORING MOMENTS – TAKE NOTHING

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30TH
A TIME OF INSTRUCTION

For our Wednesday instruction, we find Jesus recalling his time with his disciples and the adventures they had together. Today he shares one meaningful moment with us…

Then I called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and I sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. I said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic.” (Luke 9:1-3, NRSV, revised*)

Take a few moments to imagine yourself preparing to be sent out. How do you feel when Jesus says, “Take nothing for your journey”? What do you consider necessities when you travel? Have you ever gone anywhere empty-handed? Why do you think Jesus instructs us in this way?

Reflection:

I share a story from a post from 2019 today…

At the beginning of a backpacking trip in the Colorado Rockies, our guide had all of us stand in a circle, open our packs, and place our belongings on the ground in front of us. She then went to each of our piles and redistributed everything, making decisions for us: “You don’t need this extra sweatshirt, let’s give it to her.” I was touchy about all of this, but I never did need that sweatshirt. I was relieved of carrying unnecessary weight when climbing became strenuous. I carried only what was essential for the trip. **

This lesson taught me more than how to lighten my load. Our group learned the value of teamwork, of sharing, of relying on one another for our hiking trip. We listened to our leader, the one who had hiked the trail numerous times and knew what was essential. Our dependence on one another increased, as did our friendships. We learned how little we needed, we learned to be grateful for what we had, we deepened in trust for our group, our leader, and God.

There are plenty of resources for the whole world to share. I wonder if our inability to provide for everyone can stem from pride more than greed. I know that my trust in God’s provision is hampered by my reluctance to rely on the goodness of others, to depend on someone else for my needs. I may want to share, but I also want to keep enough resources to remain self-reliant, self-sufficient, never dependent. In doing so, I am missing valuable lessons in humility, generosity, and faith. I am regarding our world with scarcity instead of looking to our God of generous abundance.

Jesus sent the disciples on their journey with nothing, so they were able to approach others with humility over superiority, with a mutual dependence on one another, with a deep trust in God’s provision, and with the news of the unlimited love of Christ.

What greater visible testimony to their love of Jesus and the goodness of God could there be?


Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/

*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.

**https://simply-soul-searching.com/2019/07/23/taking-what-is-essential/