Hold on to the good.
I Thessalonians 5:21
One of my kitchen cupboards is crammed with cookbooks. They represent years of collecting. Several times I have taken down one book only to put it back because I remembered that I didn’t like any of the recipes. Quite frankly there are too many on my overstocked shelves that fit into this category! Yet, for some reason, I continue to hang on to what I know isn’t good. I know they’re not good because I’ve tested them! Now I have other cookbooks with covers falling off because of their frequent use! So, why, I ask myself, don’t I just throw away the old-but-no-good others? And the answer usually comes back to me, given enough time, that I can surely find something good!
Discovering, discerning God’s will are frequent words we hear as we grow in our faith walk. But testing in our spiritual lives isn’t nearly as concrete as testing out a recipe from a cookbook. However, there are similarities in that testing takes time and involves other people. A good cookbook author doesn’t rely on their own taste buds when deciding to include a recipe. Those worn books on my shelves are the ones where the recipes have been tested by individuals, small groups and large parties, repeatedly.
Prayer is one of the markers of testing in our discerning God’s will. But going the next step of the cookbook author—involving others—has some “cred” as well. Involving and listening to others within our community of faith helps us discover what we may or may not be discerning. Their insights may not always be “tasty” but they could be helpful in making sure that the final decision is something worth holding on to.
Jesus, help me to discern Your will
through listening to You but also
to those You send my way.