“Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Jesus does not scold Thomas. Instead he gives him the evidence he needs and gently invites him to believe. In response, Thomas speaks one of the greatest affirmations in Jesus ever recorded. How do we as leaders deal with those who doubt our plans and strategies for ministry and for change? What might Jesus’ dealing with Thomas teach us? It is easy to grow discouraged with those who don’t agree with me Lord. Teach me, by Your Spirit, to respond with patience and grace.
“But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry…” Jonah’s displeasure turns to anger, a sign of obsessing on his feelings of displeasure. God, loving and patient with everyone we see throughout the entire book, now turns his loving patience toward the displeased and angry prophet. Good news: God loves us even when we are angry. What are you displeased with these days? Is there something that makes you angry with God? What would it take for you to have an honest encounter with God to address it? Lord, reach out to me with your patient love.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with…patience.” I have heard Christian friends talk of patience probably more than any other virtue. Sometimes they are praying for it, sometimes telling people not to pray for it since God might give you really hard things to bear. What if Paul’s imagery is right, that patience is a virtue that we put on like clothes? It might not feel right. I might look a strange wearing that new outfit, but what if I simply start practicing patience in all situations? Lord Jesus, through intentional practice; make me more patient daily.
“…the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how…” “Stay busy, work hard, and success will come,” so claims some leadership gurus. What a contrast to the farmer who is active in planting/harvest, but waits dependently on the mysterious growing work of God, while he himself sleeps and wakes each day. Do I focus too much on my success in matters in which I have no control? How do I wait with
dependence and patience like the farmer? Where do I need to trust that God will grow the seed? God of mysterious growth, grow your kingdom. Amen.
|“Understanding the present time…for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” The waiting of advent is sometimes seen as a hard exercise of patience. Paul calls us to understand the time…”waiting” is not a waste of time or a sleep or slumber. It involves understanding God’s time and living in light of that time. It’s time to wake up and live in the light. What does it mean to wake up and live in the light? Are you living in the light? Light of the World, may we live in your light this day and always. Amen.|
|“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” Often the church focuses on the “gifts of the Spirit” and the abilities to get tasks accomplished with giftedness and excellence over the “fruit of the Spirit” and the character and heart of God’s people. Are the gifts effective outside of the fruit? Why does leadership in the church seem to favor gifts? Let the image of Christ himself be formed in me. Amen.|