Twenty-Third Publications has come out with a new book entitled Scripture Passages that Changed My Life. The editors asked ten regular contributors to the daily devotional, Living Faith, to pick one scripture passage that changed their lives and to explain how. (Truth in advertising: I wrote one of the chapters.)
Before I continue, I would like to give you a little quiz. (Do I hear moaning and groaning out there?) The quiz consists of three simple questions:
2) If you had to pick one passage from scripture that changed your life, which passage would you choose? (I hope some of you will share your answer with us below.)
3) Which scripture passage do you think I chose? I’ll give you a hint. It’s one of these: 1) “The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps. 23); 2) “Consider the birds in the sky…and how the wildflowers grow” (Mt. 6: 26, 28); or 3) “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word’” (Lk. 1:38).
One of the chapters in this book was written by Fr. Martin Pable, OFM CAP. He selected a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Phillipians (Phil 1:9-10). The phrase he focused on was this: “My prayer is that…you may learn to value the things that really matter.” He explained that sometimes what we say we value is not always what we really value. One way to determine what we really value is to ask ourselves these three questions:
1) What do I spend time on?
2) What do I spend money on?
3) What do I spend emotion on? (What do I get angry about? What do I rejoice over? What do I worry about? What do I grieve over when it is missing?)
I really like these questions. Reflecting on them can help us to grow in self-awareness. I, for example, can say I spend a lot of time on writing, preparing talks and retreats, and traveling to places to give those talks and retreats. That shows how much I value these things. But how much time do I spend surfing the internet and clicking on articles about famous people (like the British royal family), or spider solitaire, or recipes that I’ll never make? Another example: I can say I value exercise, but how much time per week do I actually exercise? You get the idea.
Secondly, what do I spend money on? Friendship is very important to me, so I’ll spend my money on going out to eat or to a movie with my friends. Supporting the local economy is a value for me. But do I buy food from my local farmers’ market? If prayer is important for me, am I willing to spend money on books or publications that will nourish my prayer life? If I say I value a certain non-profit, do I make a donation to them?
And finally, what do I spend emotion on? Does it really matter who wins the Super Bowl—compared to how people are sometimes being treated unjustly in our workplace, our city, our church? What causes me more anguish: my getting stuck in traffic for an hour or a child being killed in the crossfire between two gangs? Do I worry more about my physical appearance than I do about climate change?
Today you might want to spend a few moments reflecting on what you really value? How Gospel-based are your values? To what extent have you taken on the mind and heart of Jesus?
Answer to question 1: a list of the authors and the scripture passage they chose:
Chris Koellhoffer, IHM (Micah 6:8): “to do justice, love goodness, walk humbly with your God.”
Mary Marrocco (John 12:3): “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”
Amy Wellborn (Gen. 50:20): “Even though you meant harm for me, God meant it for good.”
Steve Givens (Mt. 25:40): “Whatever you did to the least…”
Pat Livingston (Jn. 15:4): “Remain in me, as I remain in you.”
Melanie Rigney (Is. 64:7): “…we are the clay and you our potter.”
Fr. Stephen Rosetti (Jn. 15:11): “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you…”
Question 3: I chose “the birds… and the wildflowers…”
Question 2: What scripture passage has changed your life? Please share below! I’m eager to hear from you!
Our song today reminds us of our greatest treasure: our loving relationship with Jesus. The song is “You Are My All and All” and it is sung by Nicole Nordeman.