Welcome

About Us

Resources

2005 Index

Links

Contact Us

Home

Humor

'The Treasure Chest'


ELCA Home

 

Resourcefulness is one of the touchstones for achieving greatness. Sometimes in life we must do what it takes to adjust to adverse conditions. We discover what really works when the chips are down. We turn to a new way when expected things fail us. Beautiful signs of greatness often emerge as we come face-to-face with overwhelming odds, and find ways to cope or overcome.

 
Resources: LLM Archives
For nearly a century, Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship assisted, inspired and trained congregations in important ways. LLM ceased operations on May 31, 2003, but the Stewardship of Life Institute is proud to continue its work by making its web resources available to a new generation of stewards.

 

Resourcefulness
As for people of faith, this is a time of the year to see with new eyes and think in fresh ways ... to discard old ways of life and to behold new ones!

By the Rev. Peter W. Marty

In the men's restroom of a Kansas City restaurant I used to frequent, the following instructions appeared on the hot-air dryer near the sink: (1) Shake excess water from hands; (2) Push button and release; (3) Rub hands briskly under nozzle; (4) Dryer stops automatically. Beneath these words, someone had taken a ballpoint pen and etched in the metal paint: (5) Wipe hands on pants.

While I have some ungracious thoughts about vandals, I have to confess a chuckle about number five. Some smart-aleck shared an insight that may have been more useful than the manufacturer's own best effort at instruction. Who knows where the wise guy is today. Selling towels in a bed and bath store? Writing operational manuals for restroom soap dispensers? It doesn't much matter. The point here is, his words lift up the value of being resourceful.

Resourcefulness is one of the touchstones for achieving greatness. Sometimes in life we must do what it takes to adjust to adverse conditions. We discover what really works when the chips are down. We turn to a new way when expected things fail us. Beautiful signs of greatness often emerge as we come face-to-face with overwhelming odds, and find ways to cope or overcome.

The shortest little girl on a first-grade soccer team uses her speed and agility to avoid getting pushed around by much larger teammates. A stroke victim discovers new expressions, new words, and new gratitude for making sense of each day. A widow thinks creatively on just how to stretch that slim Social Security check. An executive who's dogged by the limited meaning of management decisions slips out quietly each Thursday to tutor underprivileged kids in the city. RESOURCEFULNESS. It's a virtue to which we probably give insufficient attention.

Jesus is mindful of those who know resourcefulness. When a paralyzed man could not be brought close enough to him because of the density of the crowd, a few people knocked their heads together and devised a plan. Luke tells us they climbed atop the roof of the house in which Jesus stood. They cut a hole in that roof. (The New Jerusalem Bible translation suggests it was a tile roof, so perhaps they simply moved some tiles.) Either way, these carriers got their friend lowered to Jesus for healing. And whose faith did the Lord praise? Not the man with the infirmity. The resourceful characters who may have ruined someone else's roof received the acclaim. They evidently understood what was more important than anything else at that moment in time. Jesus Christ.

Resourceful thinking is fresh thinking that doesn't capitulate to the pressures of life. Sometimes it means discarding some old rules (and in the case of Luke 5, discarding shingles from your neighbor's roof) for the sake of beholding something more important

Autumn has pressures of its own that call for resourceful living. Farmers squeeze in their harvest on shortened days. Quarterbacks scramble for life. Kids hunker down for that upcoming report card. The car checks in for antifreeze. Even squirrels have to try to find a new way to remember where this year's acorns get buried. It's all about resourceful living.

As for people of faith, this is a time of the year to see with new eyes and think in fresh ways. The colorful church festivals, the stewardship mo­ments, the words of faith from confirmands — these are occasions to discard old ways of life and to behold new ones. Our Lord is after faithfulness and resourcefulness.
 

The Rev. Peter W. Marty is senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa. This article appeared in the fall 1997 issue of Faith in Action, and it was reprinted with permission from The St. Paul Informer from the previous year.


 © Copyright 1997, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This essay appeared in the Fall 1997 issue of Faith in Action. Articles in Faith in Action may be reproduced for use in ELCA and ELCIC congregations provided each copy carries the note:
© Copyright 1997, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reprinted with permission.