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
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.
people of faith, this is a time of the year to see with new eyes and
in fresh ways ... to discard old ways of life and to behold new ones!
By the Rev. Peter W.
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
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
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.
us they climbed atop the roof of the house in which Jesus stood.
They cut a hole in that roof. (The New
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
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
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
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.