Friday, October 05, 2012

Tell Me, If You Know All

Tell Me, If You Know All

October 5, 2012

Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney
 (God said to Job:) Tell me, if you know all: Which is the way to the dwelling place of light, and where is the abode of darkness, that you may take them to their boundaries and set them on their homeward paths? You know, because you were born before them, and the number of your years is great!” (Job 38:18-21)
O Lord, you have probed me and you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar. (Psalms 139:1-2)

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

Lord, my actions sometimes to the contrary, I don’t claim to have a clue about much of anything other than that I love you. Help me to let you run the world. It’ll be much easier on all of us.

Second grade, Mrs. Vivian Sandstrom’s classroom. I’ll be honest. I was the teacher’s pet. My mother was room mother, which meant she helped Mrs. Sandstrom with the requisite parties. We’d bought a set of World Book and Childcraft encyclopedias from her, too. Mrs. Sandstrom really liked me.

But none of that stopped her from teaching me a lesson that I wish I could tell you I never have had to learn again.

It was just before Valentine’s Day, and Mrs. Sandstrom was trying to help the advanced reading group put together a skit. I kept providing “helpful” advice on how it might be done better, and who should take what part. Finally, Mrs. Sandstrom smiled at me, said, “All right, Melanie, why don’t you take over?” and went and sat at her desk.

I failed miserably. My fellow reading group members wouldn’t follow my lead. They all ended up drifting back to their seats.

God works a lot that way too. He’s benevolent and loving, all right, but if we push him far enough, he’s inclined to call us on it when we question just how much he knows or what he’s doing. Today’s first reading from Job does a beautiful job of rebuking us in a gentle way, saying OK, you think you’re so smart, answer me these big, eternal questions. And of course, since He knows everything about us and our journey, He has a way of coming up with just the right words to remind us who’s in charge. And fortunately for us, most of the time that doesn’t entail being embarrassed in front of the whole class… just ourselves and Him.

Before you make any pronouncements today, even on topics you know like the back of your hand, stop and think. Phrase your comment in a helpful, not arrogant way. Your family and friends and coworkers will thank you, and so will God.

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