Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Glory in the Lord.

Jer. 9: 23, 24 Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:
It is amazing how much the prophecies of the Old Testament still apply to us today, they were written thousands of years ago, to a culture completely different than ours, in a country on the other side of the world. They remain relevant for two reasons, one is because they were directly inspired by God and he knows just what to write that will stand the test of time, the other is because mankind stays intrinsically the same. Our time passes, cultures change, and circumstances change; but the way we think and act stays the same. It was obviously a struggle for the people of that day to stay humble, it always has been for human beings. Ever since the fall, when Adam and Eve were tempted with pride and fell, it has remained one of the greatest weaknesses of their offspring. We are so quick to take the credit for the blessings that we enjoy, the rich men brag of their riches, the strong men brag of their strength, the smart men brag of their brains, and everyone of them are simply enjoying a blessing given by God. The first angle we can take on these verses is that every good thing we enjoy on this earth is a gift from God and therefore not to be bragged about or gloried in.
The second way we could look at it, (which in my estimation is most consistent with the context) is that all of those things listed by Jeremiah aren't really all that good. Strength is a good thing, but it takes a lot of upkeep. it requires you to exercise regularly, eat properly, and do many other things regarding you sleep, diet, and activities, to keep your strength. Wisdom is good, but with it comes much more understanding of how little you really know, combined with the fact that a lot of smarts requires extra responsibility and time and focus on your specialty. Riches are helpful, but they bring with them the burden of extra management and oversight of just how you are using those riches. On top of all this, every one of those things will one day fade away! No matter how wise you are you will one day lose it either to the degeneration of your body or for sure at the time of your death. The same goes for physical prowess or strength, and we all know that money never lasts. If you somehow manage to keep it all to the day of your death, you still can't take it with you.
Contrast all of this to the gain that comes with knowing more about God and his son Jesus Christ. The more knowledge and understanding and wisdom you gain in regard to them, the better off you are. It carries no eternal downside to it, sure you may have to sacrifice some here on this earth because of it, but you probably won't remember that at all in ten thousand years. It will not fade away, you will carry your relationship with Christ and your knowledge of him to the grave with you and into eternity. The story is told of John Newton the author of "Amazing Grace", when he had gotten so old he could no longer see and was beginning to forget much about his life, he would still tell those that came to speak to him, "I know this, I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior". History tells of the apostle John, when he had gotten so old he could no longer walk and eventually he got to a point to where he could no longer even speak in sentences, he would say to all who would listen "Love, love, love". If you read his three epistles you would see why that was such a preeminent theme in his mind. For both of them it was all about Christ.
I would encourage you to not be so worried about your body or your mind or your finances as you are about Christ. Let him be your most passionate obsession and all the rest will fall into place.

1 comment:

  1. Easy it is to believe that material things bring satisfaction. Thank you for this reminder that God is the bringer of all that is good. We pretend - too often - to be something we are not. Thank you my friend.