Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Everything we need to do every good work, God in the fullness of grace, has already given us. To know God means there is no room for excuses. We simply do the very best we can with what God has given us.
Judge not, lest you be judged. Matthew 7:1-12 We often see judgment as negative thing, when in reality it is simply an opinion or conclusion about something or someone. We make judgments all the time. Unfortunately, we sometimes make judgments without full consideration and knowledge of a situation. I was recently asked to participate in a group that is charged with assisting the discernment of individuals who believe they are called to ordained ministry. My initial response to the invitation was “Who am I?” I was concerned that I might play some part in “weeding out.” I began to think about my own process and experiences that lead to my own ordination and subsequently to where I am today. What initially was a scary thought I now see as a gift. Every day we sit at a table of discernment or judgment, primarily for our selves. God has given us a brain, a heart and some “art” (preaching, teaching, mending, etc.) to use for the encouragement of every good work of the Gospel. In our own discernment and judgment, our practice should be to listen to the voice of God, the Spirit of Christ. On the occasion that we are called to overtly discern or judge someone or something other than our selves our first response will be to remember that “God has so graciously heard my voice. Who am I not to listen?”