Learning how to ask the right questions

– a reflection by Rev. John Wilson, from his weekly email blast –

Robert Coles writes, “My Momma told me: remember that you are put here on earth only for a few seconds of God’s time, and He’s testing you. He doesn’t want answers, though. He wants you to know how to ask the right questions. If you learn how to do that, then you’ll do all right when you meet Him, and He’s there looking you over. You have to tell Him that you’ve learned how to question yourself, and when you show Him you know how, HE will smile on you…God’s smile, that’s the sunshine.”

Learning how to ask the right questions. Here are a couple of questions to ponder and think about this Lenten season:

* What do you see as the greatest challenge in your life right now?

* What is the most significant thing that’s happening in your life right now?

* What is God bringing to the surface in your life?

* What particular burden has God given you?

Before reading on, I invite you to stop and spend a few moments right now thinking about your answer to one or more of those questions. Does one question particularly appeal to you?

Speaking of questions, Frederick Buechner suggests that instead of looking in the Bible for the answers it gives, we should start by listening to the questions it asks of us.

“We are all involved with questions about things that matter a good deal today, but will be forgotten by this time tomorrow – the immediate wheres and whens and hows that face us daily – but at the same time we tend to lose track of the questions about things that matter most: life-and-death questions about meaning, purpose, and value. To lose track of such deep questions as these is to risk losing track of who we really are in our own depths and where we are really going. There is perhaps no stronger reason for reading the Bible and that somewhere among all those pages there awaits for each reader, whoever he or she is, the one question which is the central question of his or her own life. Here are a few of them:

* What does it profit a person if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

* Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9)

* If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

* What is truth? (John 18:38)

* How can a man be born when he is old? (John 3:4)

* What does a man gain from all the toil that he makes? (Ecclesiastes 1:3)

* Wither shall I go from thy spirit? (Psalm 139:7)

* Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29)

* What shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25)

“When you hear the question that is your question, then you have already begun to hear much. Whether you can accept the Bible’s answer or not, you have at least reached the point where you can begin to hear that answer.”

Here’s another question: how are you coming with your Lenten Fast from Negativity? I hear lots of positive affirmations for the program.

This Sunday is “Invite a Friend” Sunday (as well as St. Patrick’s Day!) You don’t need to wear green to church if you don’t want to. Our choir is set to sing “The Irish Blessing.”

It was pointed out to me that Peter, who was one of the inner circle of Jesus’ friends, and to whom Jesus said, “I will build my church on you,” Peter became a disciple because his brother, Andrew, invited him to come and meet Jesus. (John 1:42) And Nathanael became a disciple because Philip said to him, “We have found the Messiah – come and see for yourself.” (John 1:46) A personal invitation to “come and see” made all the difference in their personal lives and in the life of the church, and can make all the difference in the life of someone you invite as well.

~ Rev. Dr. John Wilson

Rev. Wilson writes a weekly reflection for everyone to read. If you would like to receive these message via email, sign up for our email list.