“What is mine to do today?” This is a question that Enneagram teacher/author/speaker Suzanne Stabile asks herself in the mirror every day. I have heard her at conferences and through her books describe how this question has shaped her. It has helped her focus her time and energy on what she believes God has given her to do in this world according to her skills and resources.
This is a question that every person could benefit from asking, especially those of us who have personalities who like to pretend we can do it all. But lately I have been thinking, does this question have validity beyond just an individual asking it of herself or himself?
For example, what would happen if my church leadership team began to ask this question about our church?
How would this clarify or direct how we spend our money?
What we give to and what we say ‘no’ to?
How would asking this question, for example, impact our benevolence ministry?
Most of us agree with the sentiment of ‘saying no to what is good in order to say yes to what is great.’ But what if we narrow the focus even further by asking as a Church or organization, “What is ours to do?” This question invites us to admit that we were not designed to do everything. Maybe “ours to do” is different than the church or organization or family next door.
This is a question of ecclesiology. Ecclesiology is a fancy word for the study of the Church. If you peel back all the layers and strip everything else away, at its core, what does it mean to be the Church today?
What is ours to do regardless of health pandemics or changes in location, etc?
In other words, what never changes about Church?
In my previous two articles, I have identified relationships and community as two answers to this question. And here I will add this third answer: as the church, we are to always and continually seek God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom is not a trite or cliché answer, the way that every answer to the bible class question is “Jesus.” No. God’s wisdom is core to what it means to be a “Church.” An organization not led by God’s wisdom should perhaps call itself a social service organization or a club or a non-profit but not a Church. In seeking God’s wisdom, we are able to answer the question, “what is ours to do?”
What then does it mean to seek God’s wisdom today during COVID-19?
The book of James begins with a reminder about God’s wisdom to the “twelve dispersed tribes.” Even though these churches were spread out and were facing a variety of different needs and circumstances, their demographics diverse, and yet James’ counsel is the same for all of them: “…if any of you lacks wisdom, let him (or her) ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given…” (James 1:5 NASB, gender inclusive language mine). It is safe to say that as leaders today, we lack wisdom for how to continue to be the Church during COVID-19. These circumstances are unprecedented. And James invites us to something very simple in response to this lacking wisdom. He invites us to ask.
What priority does prayer have in your organization or church today? How are you asking together, as a staff or a family or a board, for God’s wisdom for your specific situation?
A few practical tips:
Set aside a time for communal prayer each week. This could be at a staff meeting, a family devotional or a board meeting.
Prioritize silence. We can only hear if we are listening. We can only listen if we are silent. Whether with others or not, spend time in silence each week in order to slow down, tune in to our surroundings and listen to God.
Process ideas with others. You were not meant to do this alone. As you seek to discern God’s wisdom and God’s voice in this season, listen to other people who are on the same journey. That could be an expert on a podcast or social media, that could be your own church staff or your own family members. As you wrestle through challenges, ask others and listen to what feedback they give. Oftentimes God speaks through God’s people.
God is not withholding wisdom from Gods people but instead is ready to freely give it. Join me in seeking God’s wisdom this week.