Seeking the Word

By Susan McDonald and Lisa Rumohr

Inspiration comes from many different places. Just as God speaks to us from a number of Bible translations, he also speaks to us through others their words and their writings.

For example, in Peterson's translation or Isaiah 45, we get: I am God. I work out in the open, saying what's right, setting things right.

God is not going to sneak around, making His will known in hushed, secret meetings. He is going to shout His word from the mountaintops and make heaven and earth sing. God does not do things in small ways!

In Mark 4, Peterson gives us a similar message: Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don't you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We're not keeping secrets, we're telling them; we're not hiding things, we're bringing them out into the open.

To emphasize his message, Mark continues with: Are you listening to this? Really listening? Listen carefully to what I am saying - and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.

Giving. Generosity. Caring. These all go hand in hand, don't they? To do God's work, to follow His word, we must care. Some who listened to that message were: John Wesley, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Mother Theresa. Imagine the world we know without their influence? Imagine if they had not listened to God's word, and cared.

Remember, in Genesis 12, when God told Abraham: All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you. If Abraham, the father of the faith, hadn't listened, if he hadn't cared, where would we be? The message God gave to the first member of his chosen race was that they were to be a light unto the nations. God knew that Abraham would listen. He knew that he cared.

Consider the season we're celebrating. What if Mary had not listened or Joseph? What if he had dismissed Mary, a young, pregnant, unmarried woman? Her life would probably have ended in very early death. Imagine if Mary's parents had decided to punish their young daughter or her fiancé for this unplanned pregnancy? Because they listened to God's message, given through the angels, because Mary and Joseph listened and followed, we have a Christmas to celebrate.

The holidays are here. We have much to be thankful for and the best way to thank God is by listening to Him and caring for others.