"Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning."
May I be so bold as to edit a C.S. Lewis quote? I might insert wisdom for imagination.
In our modern world we have unparalleled access to information. The internet has made knowledge a democratic enterprise. Everyone has access to anything. What we lack in this era of information privilege is wisdom. What do you do with the information? What does it mean? How do we act on our knowledge? Not just act, but act well - justly, compassionately, joyfully?
Wisdom is not just the right answer; it's doing right with the right answer. It couples meaning with the truth.
Psalm 11:10; Proverbs 9:10; I Cor. 3:19
"Everything looks like a failure in the middle."
Everything that's worthy of being done will encounter a moment of failure. Every significant task that God calls you to will be met with resistance and challenge. The prevalent reaction is flakiness. Many will choose to give up.
But if God has called you to do it, the apparent failure is only in the middle. Every good work progresses toward an end. And in the end, we trust that God's will is done. (II Cor. 4:16-18).
"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."
There is popular discussion about the viability of the church in America, particularly as new generations flee.
The present drought often discourages us from planting. "It will never take." "It's too much work." "It's not worth it."
Thank God that someone planted in a previous day. Thank God for investments made in stormy hours. Thank God for fathers and mothers in the faith.
Today is our orchard. Now is our time. Mature trees must not stand alone. We are farmers of supernatural fields. We yearn for more trees and more fruit.
God, give us plenty. Give us prolific plenty.
"Prayer is not an occasional activity; it is a lifestyle."
Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17). This can be mistaken for a pious activity best left for the spiritual elite. But he was not addressing a handful of all-stars in an esoteric class. He was addressing a young, Gentile church in Roman Macedonia; not the clergy or the monastery. Prayer is an act of faith. In prayer, we use words to entrust every moment and circumstance to a God who has the ability to hear and to respond. Obligatory mealtime and bedtime prayers are a start, but not the fulness.
If we believe in this God, when should we not pray? How shall we sprinkle every hour with such words of trust? Mumbled or screamed, whispered or cried, thought or muttered. Intersperse the day's work with conversation that calls upon the Lord who holds every day.
Come, O Lord. Break into the mundane routines of my day. Let my work not be in vain, but make it your work. In Jesus' name. Amen.
The most dangerous time for a pig is when it's fat.
Lent is the year's great spiritual diet. A season of time dedicated to confronting apathy and laziness. It is the poke in the ribs (no pun intended), revealing the comfortable habits that we've come to crave. Don't let the obesity of arrogance insulate you from real dangers. Don't be driven by the yearnings of your stomach. Don't take goodness for granted. Be lean, self-controlled, and focused. The Lamb was killed for the sake of the swine. Keep your eyes fixed on what he has done for you and for all, in order that you may learn what you should do for others.
"If you remember it in six months, it's a big deal. Everything else is chaff."
The Super Bowl is a pretty big deal. But do you remember who won the big game 10 years ago, in 2003? Or in 2005 or in 1999? And I mean without googling it or asking Siri. Do you remember where you were for the Super Bowl 10 years ago, or even last year?
I have day-to-day worries that seem incredibly minute when I put them in the context of longer spans of time. Most of my worries are entirely forgettable, which makes them very regrettable. There will be "big deals" throughout life. "Don't worry," Jesus said (Matt. 6:25), "your Father knows what you need." And He's a pretty big deal (understatement).
"Humility is the highest form of confidence."
You have no need of bravado, chest protruding. You have no need of desperate grabs for power or reputation. You don't need to tell people, for they will see it in you. You are secure. You have unwavering clarity about who you, and who it is you belong to.
"Tradition is tending the flame,
it's not worshiping the ashes."
Composer Gustav Mahler
We value and honor our traditions. Tradition allows those who have come before us to teach us. With tradition, we inherit centuries of wisdom. But we dare not let the tradition become an idol, for it helps us tend "the flame."
"Time is the only critic without personal ambition."
- John Steinbeck
Time is relentless. It is precise and meticulous. It is objectively unemotional. Time can be haunting. Like when you notice the pencil-thin wrinkles around your eyes. Or when you look back recognize time wasted foolishly, and it cannot be taken back. Yet regardless of how you feel, time proceeds with monotonous precision. We mark it in seconds and hours, days, months, and years. We long for the day when time will be redeemed. When it will no longer haunt, but bless. When its relentless precision will be celebrated and not feared. There will be joy because each second will reveal great mysteries, the mysteries of time's great Keeper.
“The ship is safest when it is in port. But that’s not what ships were made for.”
- Paulo Coelho
There is a time to harbor and rest. And then there is a time to set sail and face the pounding surf. It would seem much easier to sit at the port in a static state of comfort and ease. It's much hard to follow the compass into a land-less horizon. Such sailing is risky and perilous. Lest we should tremble with fear, know that the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) and Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-39) demand the dangerous. Love takes us into open seas that require the sailor to be relentless and tenacious, courageous and brave. Sail boldly, for you know the harbor from which you depart and the Captain who leads on.