Scripture: Proverbs 2:6
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Thought for the Day: I’ve just spent the last ten days in what we call “intensives, treat ” part of my seminary training at Lexington Theological Seminary. The days are long, site with classes from 8am until 5:30pm. After a dinner break, store where most of us continue discussing what we’ve been talking about all day, we return to the hotel—where most of us continue talking about the things we’ve been learning throughout the day! It’s a long, truly intense retreat filled with thought-provoking ideas and the sharing of knowledge. It’s wonderful, inspiring, and exhausting.
The exhaustion and intensity are relieved somewhat with a daily worship service before lunch. This service, led by instructors with participation from students, helps us re-center and focus, and reminds us that, for all our intellectual stimulation, the wisdom to internalize these ideas comes from God. It’s one thing to know a bunch of stuff. It’s entirely different to be able to put that to use in your spiritual life and your congregations. It’s important to remember the pursuit of this knowledge is to more closely walk with God to be able to more completely convey the loving power of God.
When I first arrived at the seminary, I was pretty worn down and frustrated by the constant stream of bad news in the world. Children are kidnapped en masse, politicians grow ever more selfish, governments completely de-personalize the horror of warfare by throwing missiles and drones at each other, and the global economy is corrupted by a bottomless profit motive that enslaves everyone, both worker and consumer, in its greedy snare. We’ll quickly burn-out (or be snuffed out) if we try to battle against such an entrenched and powerful system.
One of my professors reminded me that faith, and living a faithful life, is not about winning and losing. Winning and losing are the ideals of a society that really wants us all to lose so we’ll buy more stuff. It’s been that way since the invention of commerce thousands of years ago. So we don’t need to try to beat the system, because we can’t beat the system. Our only task is to live good, faithful lives to God. In being faithful to God, the system slowly changes, because our lives are changed as the Wisdom of God begins to live within us. Wisdom changes our goals. We understand that God will ultimately win against the evil forces that corrupt our world. Our faith compels us and comforts us, drives us to do whatever we can to help bring about God’s kin-dom, and keeps us from giving up at the sheer overwhelming work that needs to be done. God is doing the work, through every person who believes. “Keep the faith,” my professor said. “God is at work. You know that or you wouldn’t even be here, Michael.” And that may have been the greatest lesson I learned all week.
Prayer: Thank you, Abundant God, for constantly teaching me how to love, and reminding me that even if I only have the means to feed, clothe or shelter one person out of millions, that’s still one more child of God, one more brother or sister, who has felt Your loving embrace. Amen.