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Last week, my reading-through-the-Bible plan had me in Proverbs 30. The heading in my Bible for the chapter said, The Sayings of Agur. I had failed to realize or had forgotten that King Solomon had not written all the proverbs included in this book of the Bible. (Similarly, many people think that David wrote all the psalms in the previous book!)

The study notes for Proverbs 30 indicated that not much is known about Agur. Verse one states that he was the son of Jakeh. He may have been from Massa. The notes continue "The origin of these sayings is not clear. Nothing is known about Agur except that he was a wise teacher who may have come from Lemuel's kingdom." Spoiler alert - King Lemuel is credited with writing the wise sayings/proverbs included in Chapter 31 of Proverbs; Solomon did not write the portion described as "the wife of noble character."

Once I got this concept into my head, I delved into Agur's contribution to the Book of Proverbs. (I'm using the New Living Translation.)

1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.

I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. 2 I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. 3 I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.

After Agur's splendid self-introduction, I was eager to continue reading. I certainly can identify with Agur up to this point. I, too, am tired and feel like the more that I try to understand or figure God out, the less certain I am of what I do know. I'm guessing that Agur would be shaking his head as to how and why his musings were included in the canon of Scripture!

But what really got my attention were verses 7-9:

7 O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. 8 First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Ouch! I don't know about you, but this hit me right between the eyes. Not the telling a lie part, but the second favor he asks of God - about money. I have been complaining, perhaps whining, about finances. Yes, the Lord's Prayer contains "give us this day our daily bread." Jesus taught that rich people may have trouble getting into the Kingdom. Paul, in Philippians 4:12 (NLT), points out "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything."

I needed to hear/read this! I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason that God hasn't sent the miracle that I've been praying for (or demanding). Perhaps my focus should be on "Give me just enough to satisfy my needs." And then trust that God ultimately knows what I need.

Maybe Agur really was wise and not "too stupid to be human." I hope he doesn't mind that I'm going to borrow his sayings in verses 7-9 and put that into my prayer instead of my current litany of woes!


For those who might need some Monday Motivational Music, this Christian country song by Rhett Walker has been a favorite in my playlist recently.


Opening photo credit: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving

you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with

plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

Acts 14:17 (NIV)

I found this hymn in our hymnbook, We Plow the Fields and Scatter, which is one we don't often sing at Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate as the American Thanksgiving holiday is most often centered around food.

This is an English translation by Jane M. Campbel of the German hymn, "Wir Pflügen und Wir Streuen" written by Matthias Claudius in 1782. This performance is by The London Fox Choir.

I selected CeCe Winan's song, Goodness of God, as today's contemporary selection. This was the theme song for Memorial Holiness Camp this past summer. It's a good reminder that we ought to be thankful for God's gifts and blessings "with every breath that I am able, oh I will sing of the goodness of God."

No matter what we focus on this Thursday, we should be remembering the Apostle Paul's admonition in I Thessalonians to "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (I Thess. 5:16-18 NIV)

Every day should be "Thanksgiving Day!"


Opening photo credit: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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I love quilts. I love seeing them at the county fair or in gift shops where they are usually incorporated into a beautiful display. I love the intricate patterns and beautiful colors. I can imagine the time, patience, and love that are required to put a quilt together. I can imagine the comfort that quilts bring when they are used to soothe a baby, help a child fall asleep, or bring back memories to the mind of an aging loved one.

As you may know, there are many different kinds of quilts. There are names of different patterns and styles, some of which harken back to a particular era of history. But there is one type of quilt that is very unique and doesn’t seem to fit any pattern, style, or era: the CRAZY QUILT!

Crazy quilts are made up of patches of random sizes, shapes, colors, and fabrics. I’ve seen some crazy quilts that are very beautiful; even though they appear to be random, there seems to be some thought that has gone into their design. I’ve also seen some others that, well, I don’t think would bring much comfort to the one who may have to use it. The colors may be dark and almost depressing; some are almost garish … a mismatch of colors and threads that certainly wouldn’t bring me any comfort.

However, there is another definition of “crazy quilt” that I thought was interesting: a crazy quilt can be used to describe a “disorganized collection of things.”

Couldn’t the term “crazy quilt” be used to describe the Church, or some churches we know, or maybe even your church? I mean, what was God thinking, bringing people of all different colors, backgrounds, upbringing, and temperaments—varying sizes, shapes, colors, and fabrics—together into one body?

And there’s Paul, exhorting us to love one another Colossians 2:2 (NLT): “I want them to be encouraged and knit together (or united) by strong ties of love.” Is this even possible?

Yes, yes, it IS! We are called as followers of Christ to live in unity, even though, as a body, we have many parts. We probably all know the I Corinthians 12 passage where Paul talks about the body of Christ—the Church. Just as our individual physical bodies are made up of different parts—the hand, the eyes, the feet, etc.—God has placed each part in the body just where he wants them. He has placed us as individuals, unique in age, size and shape, background, and talents, just as He wants us in the Body of Christ.

And best of all … the pieces/parts do not have to be perfect. God uses us just as we are!

No matter what type of imperfection we have—brokenness, sinfulness, or even “craziness”—God can stitch us together in this “crazy quilt” of His love. The thread that ties us together—quilts—is the love of Christ. As we accept and learn to love each other, this is a testimony to the world around us, that all have purpose and meaning in God’s quilt of love.

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

(This was originally written as a submission to the clergy column of our local newspaper in 2019.)


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