The Rest of the Story - Acceptance

The Rest of the Story - Acceptance

Author: Rev. Nikki Perrine Passante
September 22, 2020

As I look around my living room it’s kind of a mess. There are political signs waiting to be assembled, cardboard boxes stacked up beside piles of toiletries, clothes, paper goods – all things to send to Oregon to my stepdaughter Isabella. Because of covid-19 and any number of restrictions, I have about ¼ of my office at home, and the rest of it at the church — and my most frustrating moments have come when I can’t find something simple. I’m highly organized. This clutter is anathema to me. On top of everything, I’m writing this at home because the internet crashed at the church. I had several Zoom meetings today, and decided to pack up and re-start the day where there was an internet connection.

I’m just confused. Perhaps you are too. Things are just not normal. I think we all have to stop looking wistfully behind us. I know I need to forge ahead. A wise person once told me that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason.

In any given passage of scripture, there are multiple themes a pastor could preach on. In the Parable of the Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16), the one theme that kept dancing in the background was Acceptance. I feel the highest and hardest gifts of the Spiritual Life are Forgiveness, and Acceptance. I have thought from the beginning of the pandemic that the lesson we are being called to learn — is Acceptance.  

Acceptance is the answer to all of life’s problems. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life —unacceptable to me. I won’t find any peace at all until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be in this moment.

I want to say this a different way. When I am disturbed about something, I am the one who is disturbed. Right? When I have a problem, I am the one who has the problem. I’m reminded of words of the wealthy landowner in v. 15: or are you envious because I am generous?  I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes. When I complain about myself, my circumstances, or I complain about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I’m saying I know better than God. I doubt it.  

I don’t sit and do nothing. I do whatever is in front of me to be done, and then I leave the results to God. Acceptance. Another wise person once said, “If every person swept their own sidewalk, the whole world would be clean.”   

Right now my sidewalk is highly disorganized and it’s annoying. But the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing I can do about it right now. Christ is in the Chaos even though I can’t always find Him amidst the clutter in my living room and my mind. Accept that some days things just aren’t going to work right now. Let it be. Try again tomorrow. One of the many pictures that needs to go up in my office is a picture of the Serenity Prayer: God – grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Distilled down, God – show me when to act, when to stand still; when to fight, when to accept — and how to know when I need to do either one.

May you be inspired over the next few weeks to do both.  




First Presbyterian Church


20 King's Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033
(856) 429-1960