How will you handle the most powerful responsibility in the universe? Would you think the best way to do that is to have some "super power" — invisibility to fly around and "lord" over the universe? Would you need a super hero costume?
On NPR's program This American Life, John Hodgman conducted an informal, unscientific survey asking the question: Which is better? The power of flight, or the power of invisibility? What he found surprised him. No matter which power people chose, they used it in self-serving ways. Their plans weren't often flashy or heroic. In fact, they were almost never heroic, nor even simply kind.
Here's something that hardly anyone ever mentioned in his interviews — "I will use my power to fight crime." No one seemed to care about crime or justice. Nobody wanted to work for peace — personal, local or worldwide. No one tried to be merciful, or even just plain helpful.
Hodgman wondered why no one wanted to take down organized crime, bring hope to the hopeless, swear vengeance on the underworld. If only a little bit.
One typical respondent, who had chosen flight, commented, "I don't think I'd want to spend a lot of my time using my power for good. I mean, if I don't have super strength and I'm not invulnerable it would be very dangerous. If you had to rescue somebody from a burning building you might catch on fire. Just having the power of flight, I don't think it's necessarily quite enough because you don't have the super strength. I'd still be weak when I got there. I don't fight crime now."
He finished with "I'd go to Paris, I suppose. I could be 'Going to Paris Man.'"
I share this information with you because whether we would want to be God for a day or some superhero type, would we use our powers for good? Would we be looking out for the good of everyone, even our worst enemies? Could we allow wisdom other than one that is self-serving to be our guiding force?
James calls it wisdom from above. The Old Testament calls it Sophia; the New Testament commonly calls it the Holy Spirit.
In Proverbs, the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." In the Psalms it is meditation on the law of God. In James, it is something for which we should ask of God — who gives generously — to all — without finding fault (James 1:5).
It is also something that is "from above." This is true wisdom. It is characterized by purity, peacefulness, "gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy" (James 3:17).
Perhaps, it would be best to allow God to be God, super heroes to run around in their costumes, and instead, connect to the wisdom from above?
This Sunday we will continue our sermon series, Thrive. Our focus will be "to thrive is to connect."