The Tools of Resilience

“As for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which can make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).

As Christians, our true and lasting source of resilience is Christ’s Word and the faith worked through that Word by the Holy Spirit. We confess that Scripture is the sole rule and norm for faith and life, an assertion of our Confessions, reiterated in our Congregation’s constitution. We can have confidence, assurance, and true hope for tomorrow when our lives are conformed to Christ and His Word. When we live apart from this Word, our labors are in vain. When we put our faith elsewhere than Christ Jesus, it falters and fails. This applies to individual, family, and the corporate life of the congregation.

You have heard the adage about being responsible stewards of time, talent, and treasures. God has given you gifts to benefit your faith, life, and neighbor. We are also to be on guard from wrapping our identity in the “stuff” of the world. We also risk thinking so much about getting and losing what God has given that we forget He is the giver and has more to give. This can lead us to use one another in a parasitic or usury way. We can be so consumed with having or having not that we live in fear of loss or in the pursuit of gain. We never stop to ask, “What has God given me? How might I be responsible with it? And have I asked God for contentment first, or is my lament always about my lack?” This makes for a nervous, anxious, and fretting life, family, and congregation. 

Stewardship implies being a caretaker, but there’s more. I suggest that a resilient person and institution are attentive to more than the resources of “time, talents, and treasures.” We build up one another and this congregation carefully and responsibly with the incredible wealth God gives us: time, finances, life, material, knowledge, emotional well-being, family, community, and common culture or tradition. As pastor and congregation, God also gives us the responsibility to attend first to the things that build up faith. God would have us first pay attention to what we say, teach, confess, and sing. And He gives us to attend to the total well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters, as well as our near neighbors. God’s Word equips us in history, prophecy, poetry, wisdom, Gospel, and exhortation for our every need. With His Word, we are attentive to the things that make for resilient, hopeful, steadfast, and immovable people.