Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.” Proverbs 9:1-6(NLT)
Learning to use the wisdom God has made available through His Word is not only valuable for our lives, it is vital!
Rev. Jay Hilbinger, senior pastor at First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, shared in a message this past Sunday about his recent vacation time at North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Of course there was beach-walking…who can resist such? What intrigued me more than anything was his illustration of what it means to stand in the sweet spot and hear from both sides. The sweet spot of a golf club impacting a golf ball is where you get the best results; you get the most distance and accuracy for your shot.
According to Pastor Jay he found a sweet spot on the dunes just off Highway 12. If you stand at the top of the dunes facing North or South, on the West you will hear the normal North Carolina birds chirping and the assorted sounds of life in rural villages and towns. On the East your other ear will pick up the sounds of gulls, terns and the unmistakable roar of the Atlantic Ocean. That’s coastal life in beautiful North Carolina; one dune, yet two so very different voices – so close to multiple personality disorder!
But, doesn’t this also describe how a Christian must experience life in today’s cultural climate? On the one hand we have Biblical instruction, the living Word of God, instructing us on what is healthful and helpful for our lives. On the other hand a myriad of voices calling us to behavior that is destructive in every way.
Standing in the sweet spot to listen with wide open ears and a discerning heart is required for mature Christians. With one ear we hear the siren call of the far country, beckoning our allegiance to that which disintegrates life, and with the other ear we hear the call of God to be different:
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)
A sweet spot is where you can hear both sides calling and therein know the difference between the two. For 20th century Swiss theologian Karl Barth, the sweet spot was Bible in one hand and newspaper in the other. He qualified this by stating the Bible was to inform the newspaper, and not the other way around! You cannot “be holy” or different (as God indeed calls us to be) without knowing where the culture departs from serving God’s purposes and will. The sweet spot of a quiet place to listen is the best use of wisdom.
Standing in the sweet spot…growing wise…leaving simple ways behind…that’s a banquet of life!