Monday, March 30
The Reverend Dr. Lane Alderman, Pastor, Roswell Presbyterian Church
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. - James 1:19-20 (NRSV)
When I was in elementary school, my father came home from a conference and gave me a small desk paperweight with the word "THINK" on it. From that point on it sat in my room or on my desk. It went to college and seminary with me, and it has been on my desk at all three churches I have served.
It's a double reminder for me... it reminds me of the mountains of advice and wisdom and love my father has shared with me over the years. I would not be who I am today without the guidance he has given to me. He is a wise father, but he is also an accomplished churchman who knows and understands the inner workings of a church. Whenever I have had a challenging issue to face in the church, he has always been one of the first people to whom I turn. That paperweight reminds me of his support for my ministry.
But it is also a piece of outstanding advice that I try to remember as well. When faced with one of those challenging issues, I know that I need to stop... and pray... and think. I also know that when I have forgotten that advice and acted too rashly, it has almost always backfired on me!
For me, that little sign is a reminder of James' challenge when he cautions us to be "quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger." In word... we need to think before we act. I'm convinced that the world... our marriages... our jobs... our lives would be better if we took that simple piece of guidance more seriously!
Gracious Lord, thank you for the wisdom from those who love us, and thank you for the reminder to slow down before I respond. Remind me anew to think... to be quick to listen and slow to speak. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen