Week of Proper 3, Year Two[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 25 (morning) // 9, 15 (evening)
1 Timothy 1:1-17
The advice found in today’s first reading is an ancient version of the advice we often hear today about finding security, especially financial security. Today, typical pieces of advice include: work hard, save for a rainy day, go to college, own a home, etc. As many of us have discovered, though, this standard advice can turn out to be unattainable or ineffective.
Does our reading from Proverbs offer us anything better? Some verses do stress the importance of hard work: “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” And yet, diligence and hard work are not the only factors shaping the human quest for security. This passage acknowledges the behind-the-scenes machinations that can make it very hard for people to access the blessings of this life.
For example, there are winks and nods that allow the powerful to collude against others: “Whoever winks the eye causes trouble.” And some people acquire riches by other means than hard work. The passages warns, “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit.”
Where can we find our security in a world such as this? When hard work isn’t enough, where can we put our faith? Our passage from Proverbs includes a verse that gives us some hope: “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever follows perverse ways will be found out.” These words don’t always pan out exactly, for integrity isn’t always rewarded, and the corrupt are not always discovered or held accountable. Our hope, though, is that integrity is its own consolation and reward. There’s no surer bet than on the value of our word and the transparency of our hearts.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.