“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
By Bishop Jonathan Holston
Have you ever received words of inspiration from a family member, mentor, teacher or someone you value?
In all probability, we all have received or shared inspiring thoughts and words of wisdom in times of celebration and sorrow. These are a few anecdotes shared with me over the years; namely:
• The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step;
• The captain who has never run aground has never left the harbor;
• If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again;
• You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind;
• Do not follow where the path may lead – go instead where there is no path and leave a trail;
• The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook; and
• If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.
Recently, I was reminded of a Native American story titled “Two Wolves,” which shares a significant life lesson. A grandfather says to his grandchild, “A fight is going on inside of me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other wolf is good and stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, as well as faith. The same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person, too.”
The grandchild thought about the story for a few moments, and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
Hearing the sincerity of the question, the grandfather simply replied, “The one you feed.”
It was in 1992 that I participated on a mission trip with Bishop J. Lloyd Knox to Costa Rica. While in Alajuela, Costa Rica, I asked him to share why he chose the path of a missionary, and he replied, “To be on the cutting edge of ministry making a difference for the sake of Christ.”
I asked about his expectations of laity and clergy, and the reply was the same; namely, “to be on the cutting edge of ministry making a difference for the sake of Christ.” I questioned if we should all become missionaries, and he shared an insightful response. He said, “We would all do well to develop and nurture the missional spirit within us.”
From that moment, I have sought to feed and nurture that missional spirit within me. Out of that experience grew my own missional statement, which is to empower, equip and encourage persons to share the faith and make disciples for Christ. It was my way of feeding my faith and starving my doubts to death.
For too long, we have lived in ways that would not identify us as generous stewards of our faith. In fact, we have chosen a diet that “feeds our doubts and starves our faith to death.” Friends, if we are to grow on this spiritual journey as a church and individually as vital members of the body of Christ, we must feed a faith that transforms our beliefs into action.
What if we together daily renewed our covenant to faithfully participate in the ministries of the Church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ? If so, I believe we would be feeding the best of our faith and translating our beliefs into action.
Join with me in a time of daily Bible study, daily prayer for our church and world, being faithful to our stewardship pledge, as well as sharing the joy of Christ in the places we visit with the people we meet. What a way to taste and see the glory of the Lord.