This Thing Called Prudence
by Dorie Stanton

Prudence! What is it really????

Webster's dictionary describes prudence as: 1- Careful to avoid errors and follow the most profitable course, cautious, worldly wise. 2- Exercising sound judgment, sagacious, discreet - prudent minded.

On the surface all of the above are true enough, and politically correct for our time, but are the descriptions true in matters of faith? What is prudence in faith? On the surface it appears to be all of the above, to be good stewards of the gifts given to us by God, to use all of our talents, gifts, assets, money and intelligence for the good of all.

On the one hand we are warned to hold fast to what we have, to hold it secure and sacred for our future and security, to guard it with our lives so that we are provided fro in our futures, to only give if we can afford to give no more, to make sure that our own security is first always, and the needs of others last, from our surplus.

On the other hand we are called to totally surrender all to God, Our Father, without restraint, to trust Him with all of who and what we are, to place at His disposal everything that we have and will have, without holding back anything, to use all that He gives us in planting the seeds of faith in others, trusting Him to make those seeds take root and grow and flourish, because we love Him and seek to do His will.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6 verses 25 through 34 He tells us:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more then food and the body more then clothing? Look at the birds of the sky, they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more important then they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, "What are we to eat?" or "What are we to drink?" or "What are we to wear?" All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you besides."

Is it trusting our Father's love for us to hold fast to the things of this life, in the name of prudence, or is it trusting God, Our Father to give to our neighbor who is in need, without first taking into account our won security? In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6 verses 19 through 21 He tells us: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal it. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."

Is it prudence to say that we have to be careful with all that He gives us? Most certainly. We cannot throw away His love and goodness, but use it for all those He sends into our lives, to help the seeds of faith in them take root and grow and flourish, to encourage, to comfort and to guide on this journey of life and faith.

In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 10 verse 30 through 37 He tells us: "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place and when he saw him, he passed by him on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came pon him was moved with compassion at the sight. The he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out 2 silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, "Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back." Which of these three, in your opinion was neighbor to the robbers victim?" He answered; "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise.'

If you are not willing to say "All I have is yours Lord," can we be serving Our Father in truth and love and trust, or are we carefully guarding our assets to secure our own future here. When Our Lord asks us to give, do we only give Him a little of ourselves because it is prudent, or do we trust Him with all of ourselves because we love Him and He asks us?

In being prudent what is the Lord really asking us? In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 7 verses 13-14 He tells us; "Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many." How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."

It is a dichotomy, this question of prudence. The world will tell us to protect our assets. God, Our Father tells us to give it all. Who will we answer? Who will we trust? Where will our lives be?

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