Yesterday I remarked that the judges ruling in the court reminded me of Jesus’ words from the cross, “It is finished”. Jesus taught by using many parables, real life stories that pointed to greater truths of the Lord. Life really should not be about trying to grab a few useful fact and moving on. Sometimes those facts are needed, but even more we need to look around thoughtfully at the world we live in. God, the Holy Spirit, is constantly active in life revealing the good and the bad, what honors God and what does not, where people can share joy and where they hurt and are in need. That insight is not gained from a computer screen, but from meditating upon God’s Word, and observing the life surrounding us. God speaks in many ways constantly seeking to draw people closer to Himself.
I was talking yesterday with one of our pastors who also teaches in a local college. His background is in logic and his course subject is Aristotle. We had talked about the decline in the church in recent years, but he remarked that we face a far more serious problem, a decline in thinking. He said he is trying to teach Aristotle to students with an eight second attention span. This was not just the frustration of one teacher, but a reality that is widespread. Our age of handheld electronics and instant, but often superficial, information has decreased our ability to be quiet in mind and heart, and to meditate on the things God has place around us. The Psalmist invites us to “Be still, and know that I am God…”(46:10) The call to be still before God is repeated six time in the Old Testament. Can we be? Can we sit still and have a quiet conversation with one or two others? Or can we sit still on a sofa and just think about the Lord, or about life in general? Can we be quiet enough to hear our Lord speak? I hope some can.
I am by no means a great thinker. I don’t come up with original or earth shaking concepts. But I have learned to question things, to reason through concepts, to compare modern ideas to historically accepted truths, and especially to those truths of Holy Scripture. It is easy to go along with the prevailing culture as the norm, and assume this is way things should be. “I’m comfortable. I’m getting along OK. Why should I bother about anything else?” Public opinion polls taken over a span of years show how wrong ideas become ingrained in people’s way of life . This is not really thinking through what is truly good and right, and above all, what is pleasing to the God who created us. Anatole France, a French poet, journalist, and novelist a century ago remarked that “if fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” I’m afraid we find ourselves in this place, though with a lot more than fifty million people going along with foolish things. Many moderns have trouble with various parts of the Bible, but taken as a whole it is still the standard for judgment of what is good and right before God. We need to be willing to observe, think through, and question all that comes to us in our modern world, asking if this is really is the way God intends us to live.
I’ve been sending a version of Good Morning to my grandchildren. Yesterday, I talked about the need to think and reason things through, and also to be willing to ask questions about everything. It is too easy to take the “oh, whatever” attitude letting wrong or foolish things just slide by unchallenged, even in our thinking. That means we test everything that comes to us. But testing means we compare it to a standard. For us, that standard is the whole of God Word, the Bible. I say the whole, because we can’t just pull out one or two special verses we like. We need to understand God’s purpose for mankind expressed in Scripture from the first book to the last. This does take work. It is a continual study of the Bible along with whatever else we need to read, study, and learn each day. But then we have a solid foundation for asking the necessary questions about the things life sends us.