August 7 2009
Lord, today is a day that seems back to normal. Help me to remember today that while it's a normal one for me, there are others for whom it's not. There are hurting people in this community and around the world who need you. Let us remind mindful of that reality.
Proverbs 7:1-3 →Wisdom from previous generations should be treasured. It is something to value, keep, and heed!
Proverbs 7:10 →Even dressed like a prostitute, there's a hidden agenda: it's hidden from the young man because he thinks the encounter is about passion and pleasure. She knows it's about destruction.
Proverbs 7:21 →Am I enticed by persistence? At some point, my “no” must remain “no” rather than giving in because I'm being constantly asked. And then there's that “flattering talk” issue. How much do I bend over backwards for flattering talk? Tickle my ears and I'll do nearly anything!!
I'm actually looking at Lifeway's EXTRA for the Sunday School lesson today, which is a new habit for me. It's found at this link. ( For those of you who don't know, Sunday School lessons are written a good time in advance. To help with that, Lifeway generates a lesson 'update' with a more recent illustration to substitute for part of the written lesson. You can get it for free. Tell your pastor you need it. He'll help you be able to get it yourself.) The illustration today is related to Mark Buehrle who pitched a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox in July. This is different from the lesson, but most baseball players are superstitious about such things. If you ever watch a baseball game where the pitcher is throwing a no-hitter or perfect game, usually you'll see him sitting alone in the dugout, because there's a fear that if you tell him he's doing well, he'll screw up. But click through and read the story. You'll see that Buehrle and Pierzynski (two guys living to make spell-checkers useless) were talking and joking throughout the game. No acknowledgment of superstition, but instead just a determination to get the job done.
James is talking here about acting based on your faith. And I'm seeing that correlation here. Some baseball players have plenty of faith in their superstitions. They wear the same socks or the same hat or have the same routine for everything. Don't believe me? Watch some of these guys before they hit. It's amazing, and annoying sometimes too. Do we do this? How often do we treat superstition as real? Do we act in faith that: 1)not talking about bad things keeps them from happening? 2)Not talking about good possibilities will make them happen? 3)that 'knocking on wood' does something other than bruise your knuckles?
My point is this: many times we'll offer action to back up a faith in a superstition, while we don't do much to back up a faith in God. Tell someone looking for a job “Good Luck” and they say “thanks!” Tell them to pray about whether God wants them to have the job and they say “I have to get this job!” There is a lack of acting on our faith, and we need to change that behavior in our lives. We'll knock on wood when we say “I've never had a car wreck” but will we pray everyday for safety when we drive? Will we drive a little more carefully?
And we have our “ Christian” superstitions too. We tag on phrases like “Lord willing” or “In Jesus' name” to much of our speech. Well, “Lord willing” is great, if you're acknowledging that “Lord may not be willing, and that's ok” but is that the case? Or are you just idling babbling?
Not to run down those phrases, but we should make sure that our speech is compatible with our beliefs, and our actions as well. We'll act on things we know are false, but will we act on things we know are true?