-Rev Barbara Taylor Minton-
...examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 CEB
In 1880, a baby girl came into the world full of life. Eighteen months later a devastating illness left the child both blind and deaf. Years of struggle and discouragement did not dampen the Keller’s hope for their daughter’s future. Keeping abreast of developments that pertained to their daughter’s condition, the parents made certain that Helen received the most current care. In time, with help of a dedicated governess, Helen Keller learned to communicate, graduated college, and became a world advocate for many causes, with a focus on improving the plight of the deafblind and people with other disabilities.
Helen Keller spoke out against injustices, supporting workers’ rights and laboring diligently for a woman’s right to vote. Learning of the life and work of Jesus, her biographers’ report her as saying she knew God was there, she just didn’t know God’s name.
Often in his teachings Jesus spoke of hearts that had grown dull, of people who had ears but could not hear the truth of his teachings or of people with eyes, unable to perceive the power of God in his actions. More than once Jesus concluded his teachings with a simple statement: “Let those who have ears, hear.”
Helen Keller proves with her life and her many accomplishments that one can hear and respond to God without having ears that hear or eyes that see. She also exemplifies one dedicated to a careful examination of life, hanging on to what is good, and even working for what is good and beneficial for others.
Throughout Scripture a thought prevails, an encouragement, a call for our openness to God’s activity, summed up in these verses from the Thessalonian letter. Be attentive to what God is doing. Don’t brush it off as inconsequential, but instead, “…examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good.” Examine life in a framework of faith, aware of God’s involvement.
Joseph, son of Jacob, provides an example of reframing his life to include God’s activity! Overlooking the murderous intentions of his jealous brothers who had sold him into Egyptian slavery many years earlier, Joseph simply said to them, “You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people….” Genesis 50:20 Joseph, now the second most powerful man in Egypt, preserved the lives of his father’s descendants and found a place in Jewish tradition because he let go of bitterness and vindictiveness while hanging on to the good.
Don’t suppress the Spirit. Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. Avoid every kind of evil. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22
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Lord, give us eyes to see your goodness and ears to hear your voice so that we might reflect your nature. Amen.
Rev Barbara Minton, ordained April 1, 2001, now semi-retired, gladly serves a small rural congregation in Henry County KY, Berea Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She also volunteers in local interdenominational outreach ministries. Barbara describes herself as wife of one, mother of three, and Mamaw to eight. She enjoys journaling, which she began while living in Switzerland and Germany for 16 years. Now she will occasionally write on her blog, which she fondly entitled Muesli. http://bjm-muesli.blogspot.com/ Her hobbies include bird-watching and word-botching. She claims to get her exercise by jumping to conclusions, running at the mouth, and climbing the walls. Her partner in these adventures is Thomas, her husband of 53 years, and presently pastor of Eminence Christian Church in Eminence, KY. (When she grows up she wants to become a retreat speaker!)