There will be many in industry, retail and commerce that shudder when they hear the two words, ‘stock taking.’ For them it probably brings to mind the endless hours hurriedly running around in warehouses and stores counting and recounting the raw materials in stock and the goods on the shelf waiting to be sold or shipped. The time spent checking records and computer files in order to gauge how much, if any, products are missing or lost! But taking stock is not all about finding losses. It is also about determining what is going well and how a company or store might be succeeding!
St Paul writing to the church in Corinth says, ‘assess yourselves to check that you are living in the faith. Test yourselves to make sure. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? – assuming, of course, that your faith is not a sham? (2 Cor. 13:5)
Paul reminds us that as Christians we should, ‘examine ourselves’ and see if we are, ‘living in the faith’. In other words, take time out to reflect seriously on how things are going in your Christian journey? It’s not a case of getting by or running on cruise control. Once you set the ball of the Christian lifestyle rolling you cannot just leave it and hope that it will all be okay! Sadly nothing could be further from the mark. It’s far too easy to take a false step here or a wrong path there, until instead of making progress you’re slipping backwards, unsure of where you are going or why?
I guess the question might be: Have you been able to keep the vows once made? Have you been able to remain committed to following the teachings of Jesus in your life? In other words, have you met what you set out to do? What have you made of your life so far? Have you made the most of the gifts, guidance and opportunities God has given you or put before you? Is your faith still growing? Maybe today is a time to pause and do a bit of taking stock?
If you are like me then you probably will not like the answers you come up with but at least you know where you stand with God and the world around you. Remember though, with God’s help you can make changes that will help put things back to where they should be. Perhaps this can be our prayer for today and the week ahead.
Teach me, Lord, to take stock, thoughtfully, honestly and prayerfully, and help me to see myself as I really am rather than as I imagine myself to be. Amen (Nick Fawcett)
Shalom to you my friend,