March 18, 2018

By Rev. Dr. Amy Aitken, Riviera UMC, West District

James 1:5

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.

I laughed out loud when I saw the list assigning my name to this reading. Here’s how I read it: “Amy Aitken, you are lacking in wisdom, but ask God, who gives generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given to you.” I often feel “lacking in wisdom,” but I had hoped that it wasn’t quite so obvious.

Wisdom can seem hard to find these days. We live in a time that is awash with information. Facts, statistics, and studies abound on almost any possible subject, and can be easily accessed with a few taps on the “smart” phone that is in our back pockets. Indeed, we carry around with us on small, handheld devices all of the information of the known world. If we are able to make sense of, and apply all of this information, we may become knowledgeable on a given topic. But all of that information, and all of that knowledge can easily be rendered meaningless when faced with anguish of a grieving mother, or a senseless act of violence. But wisdom, wisdom is different than both information and knowledge.

Wisdom is a gift that comes as we seek to align our hearts with God’s heart. To seek wisdom, is to seek God. Such wisdom comes to us in moments of silence, and in times of chaos, when all the information and knowledge fails, the wisdom of God calls to us with a deeper truth. In this beautiful passage, James assures us that God wants to be known in our hearts and in our lives. God gives wisdom, God gives of God’s own heart “generously and ungrudgingly” to anyone who asks. Wisdom, then, is a gift of grace that simply comes. We only need to seek it.
I can think of many times in my pastoral ministry when I was faced with a situation, a tragedy or crisis, where the only thing I felt sure of was that I didn’t know what to say or do. I’ve whispered many prayers, walking toward emergency rooms, or before difficult conversations, and graciously, God’s Spirit responded with words of wisdom, courage and love.

When in your life have you sought God’s wisdom and God responded generously and ungrudgingly? Amidst all the sources of information, where in your life do you need to seek the deeper wisdom of God?

Prayer: God of Compassion, help us to seek your wisdom in all we do. Amen.