SERMON TITLE: “The Serenity Prayer: The Courage to Change the Things I Can”
SERMON TEXT: 1 Samuel 25:2-8, 14-20, and 32-35
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: March 21, 2021, at First UMC
God, . . . grant me . . . the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
. . . the courage to change the things I can, . . .
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Amen.
Have you been working on your income taxes? For the past 15 years or so, I took or mailed my tax information to the same CPA in Colorado. For most of those years, he did a fine job. But for the past few years, I had slightly decreasing confidence that he was doing things correctly. Then, last year, my dissatisfaction rose to a new high. I don’t know if my CPA was suffering from a mental decline, if the onset of the COVID pandemic threw him off, or if he just didn’t value my business anymore. But I decided then that I would have to do something different this year. I would have to make a change.
Of course, change is often scary, especially when it has to do with income taxes. I don’t know if you realize this, but clergy taxes are uniquely complicated. Most tax preparers have no familiarity with the specific rules about clergy. And in Utah, where there aren’t nearly as many professional ministers, the problem is even greater. So I have to admit that, over the past couple months, I was tempted to resort to the old CPA. But I consulted with some colleagues about the software they use, I did some other online research, and I worked up my courage to file my taxes myself. That change was a stretch for me, but I think it all turned out OK. In fact, I feel pretty good about gathering up the courage to make that change.
During this Lenten season, we’ve been working our way through the words and phrases of The Serenity Prayer. We began by talking about “God.” Then we moved on to “grant me” and “serenity.” Last Sunday, we talked about the peace that comes to us when we “accept the things [we] cannot change.” Today, we’ve come to the line about courage. Let’s dig into this Old Testament story from First Samuel 25 and see what we can learn about “the courage to change the things I can.”