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Bigger, Better, Faster, More

“The words of the wise while at rest will be heard; in the cries for help from a ruler with fools.”

(Ecclesiastes 9:17)

Wisdom will never be listened to in the midst of a mob. How sad it is that in today’s world, the mob who yells loudest is considered the one who has won the day. Wisdom will never be listened to in the midst of panic; the bells of alarm rob our ears of being able to hear. Wisdom will never be listened to in times of fear; self-defense mechanisms are like a trumpet sound we cannot ignore. Wisdom will never be listened to during times of hectic activity — the tyranny of the urgent does not value deep contemplation.

Wisdom is listened to during times of rest. Wisdom must be reflected upon, meditated upon, and pondered. Wisdom must be dined upon like a fine steak, not consumed like a $5 lunch at a fast-food store. Wisdom requires that time be set aside and that all of our attention be given to it. Time to listen for wisdom does not just happen; it must be set aside and it must be protected from the encroachment of the activities of the day.

One of the challenges that we all faced when I worked at the Christian school in Florida is that of setting aside time for reflection — “Is what we are doing the best thing?” Could we be doing things better?” “Is God being glorified in this?” And, the questions go on. The same challenge holds true in the church. There are so many demands that fall into the week that sometimes one wonders if there is a way to just stop the world from turning and get off. There are so many things to do that sometimes budgeting time to talk about spiritual things — about wisdom — seems like a waste of time. We fall into the trap of wanting to “Get it all done” without ever asking why we are doing it and how Christ is glorified in these things. It is not that the activities of church are bad…just the opposite, they are quite good and beneficial…but only when handled with and cared for by wisdom.

As a parent, I find it fascinating that timing has so much to do with having those parental conversations that are designed to impart wisdom to our children. How radically different the outcome of the conversation when things are peaceful and time can be had to talk while at rest than in the busyness of the day. How much less confrontational those conversations are when rest is the key component that defines the context. How much more the wisdom sinks in both to parent and child. Solomon is giving us one of the most practical insights for living that can be offered in the modern age of hustle and bustle…an age “where one more thing” is always being added to life. Friends, “Bigger, Better, Faster, More,” is not always to be desired.

Pondering Steadfast Love

“We have pondered, O God, your steadfast love;

in the inward parts of your temple.”

(Psalm 48:10 {verse 9 in English})

On the value of pondering the covenant faithfulness of God! How rarely we give ourselves to that practice in an adequate way. In today’s world, it seems that we rarely ponder much of anything but are instead satisfied with sound bytes and five-second blurbs. Such is the plight of our world today.

The steadfast love of God — his dRsRj (chesed) — reflects the consistent faithfulness of God to his people despite his people’s covenant unfaithfulness. Ultimately, God is always faithful and we so regularly and consistently fall short. Further, we often turn away from the faithfulness of God so that we can pursue specific sin in one form or another. Yet, God remains faithful to his elect and the blessings of being connected to that faithfulness of God are impossible to contain with words. Hence, we meditate upon them — pondering God’s faithfulness.

It is my conviction, also, that a clear remembrance of God’s unwarranted faithfulness is the antidote to human pride. We fall short and have consistently fallen short; yet, God never falls short — he always remains faithful to his own. The bride of Christ will indeed be made ready. And just as the bride does not prepare herself, but is prepared, for the wedding day, God prepares the elect church for his Son, Jesus. Loved ones, ponder these things for they will help prepare you for a life of faithfulness.