Greetings from Pastor Benjamin

Dear Church Family,

It is officially fall! One passage that keeps coming to me now that the season has changed is James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” The leaves are starting to fall “from above.” And this verse in James reminds me that all good things come “from above”—from God, our perfect heavenly Father.

            In his letter, the apostle James will go on to highlight various gifts from God. I want to just highlight one: the gift of wisdom. James encourages us with these words in chapter 1:5: “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.” Again, we find a picture of God as a generous Father. We get the idea from James 1:5 that God enjoys lavishing wisdom on his children for any season.

            I think the reason James emphasizes this picture of God is because seasons move so quickly, and our circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. (I can think of several people in our congregation and community for whom this has been true just in the past month.) It means the world to know that God never changes—that with him “there is no variation or shadow due to change.” He will remain faithfully generous to his children when we humbly ask for wisdom.

                       What does this wisdom look like? What does this wisdom accomplish in the world? James describes this wisdom from God: “…the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17). This kind of sincere, open-handed, peace-pursuing wisdom produces “a harvest of righteousness” in the world (James 3:18).

            That metaphor of the “harvest” is a rich one, and there are probably many ways we can reflect on the point James is making about wisdom there. One thing that immediately stands out to me is that wisdom will take work. I see the farmers putting in the hours here in our county, and I think that gives us a picture of how consistent we should be in asking God for wisdom and in learning about the world around us.

            As the seasons change and harvest time is in full swing, I’m leaning on God’s promise to give us wisdom when we ask. I want to put in the work; I want to walk in the “wisdom from above” in this season of fall and in this season in the life of our congregation. And I want to see a “harvest of righteousness” come to our community as a result of how we all pursue wisdom and truth and peace.

In Jesus,

Pastor Benjamin