Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 2/13)
Shortly after we married, my wife and I headed to Portland, Oregon for me to attend theology school. First year students were strongly encouraged to serve in local ministries while they worked on their advanced degrees. So, within a couple of months of relocating to the Portland area, I found myself also serving as a part-time college pastor at a small church 30 minutes south of Portland.
Several months later, I was asked to preach at our Sunday church service. The theme of the weekend was Christian stewardship, and I preached about God’s generosity, our stewardship and trusting God for our needs.
Just as the good books says . . .
I don’t remember much of what I preached. I don’t remember how many of the congregants showed up for my message that morning, nor any of the songs nor other elements of the worship service, nor even how my preaching impacted the people sitting in the pews.
Here’s what I do remember: after the service was over, I stood at the back - as was our church’s tradition for the preacher - greeting people and thanking them for coming. One of the parishioners, an elderly lady who was a pillar of the church, thanked me for my “excellent sermon” and then, as she exited, she shared with me a comment that has caused me to smile for many years: “Just as the good book says, young man, a penny saved is a penny earned.” Here's why I smile every time I remember her quote. That quote is from Ben Franklin, not the Bible!
There’s truth beyond the Bible
Poor Richard’s Almanac was a collection of Franklin’s best quotes on how to live a wise life. Other sayings of his? “Well done is better than well said.” “Be always ashamed to catch yourself being idle.” and my favorite for us who are fitness enthusiasts: “There are no gains without pains.”
Indeed, Franklin and others have shared life lessons in their writings for thousands of years. From Marcus Aurelius shortly after the time of Christ to current best-selling authors such as James Clear in his book Atomic Habits (which is very popular in the CrossFit world), there is much wisdom beyond the Bible. The Bible even encourages us to seek out this wisdom.
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit is better than gold.” — Proverbs 3:13-14
Seek life wisdom in the Bible and beyond
Here’s the point: While the Bible is fully true, not all truth is in the Bible. Want to eat as healthy as possible? – Research the best current thinking on nutrition. Need to deal with a nagging injury? – Seek out the best healthcare professionals. As athletes – and humans – who want to be wise in how we take care of ourselves and those around us – we need to search out the best information available so we can make the best decisions possible. That is what wisdom looks like.
One of the reoccurring themes throughout the book of Proverbs is the need to seek wisdom. Wisdom begins with God’s truth found in the Bible – the Bible provides the framework for wise living – and then, building on that foundation, the Bible challenges us to keep growing in our wisdom.
Questions for Reflection:
How do you make sure you are growing in wisdom?
Where do you look for good life advice?
How do you make sure the advice you get doesn’t contradict the wisdom of the Bible?