Choose One

And now faith, hope and love abide, these three…

I Cor 13:13

Which would you choose, if you had to choose one: faith, hope, or love? There are good reasons for choosing any of the three: faith as to move mountains, hope in things unseen, for God so loved the world. I’ve known people who revealed one or more of these in their actions and thoughts, words and manner. I’ve known groups who have done the same through discernment, action, and further discernment – the interplay between prayerful reflection and faithful action the Spirit’s way of revealing holiness in the imperfect here and now.

I believe I saw one such group last week on a job interview – a board of men and women, differing ages and stages, joined together by their call to mission in their own back yards, working together to find the right person to direct their ministry. Each member asked thoughtful questions, each one listened attentively to the answers I gave and the questions I asked. I left them confident that they would choose the right person, whoever he or she might be.

I think faith, hope, and love are companions in many an adventure. I saw at least two in the board members last week. Some had faith that their needs would be met; God would provide someone to take up the tasks dear to them. Absolutely right. Others looked at the qualities they identified for a successful candidate and compared them to the words on paper and the words in person they encountered. The goals are clear, the structure sound, the candidates more than adequate. They had and have every reason to hope for a worthy director and a successful future for their shared ministry. And they are right.

I got a call, letting me know that they chose someone else. I have every hope and a certain faith that they chose well. I trust their faith and their prayer as I trust my own. Faith and hope are not in vain: they beckon to us toward a holy future.

And love? I don’t need to be a part of their ministry to love who they are and how they find God in the strength and brokenness of this world. It’s never in vain and never dependent upon this or that adventure or choice. Love is the now, the once-was, and the what-will-be; it is what grants this imperfect world the privilege and joy of being our God given, precious home.

And now faith, hope, and love abide these three; and the greatest of these is love.

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