“…So that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. – Colossians 2:2-3
I was asked, several months ago, to teach a course on Christian Ethics to students preparing for pastoral ministry. Our first class session was a few days ago. This is the second time I’ve taught this course, but I have a greater appreciation for its particular relevance given our times, as well as for the obvious and, more often, subtle issues facing pastors and church leaders.
I, and every pastor I know, have been confronted by ethical issues, including those that involved degrees of complexity. Most of these involved the choices others made or wanted to make, and I became necessarily involved, usually as the recipient of the problem, the problem-solver or the decision-maker.
Early this past week, I spoke with a pastor-friend who has just such an issue facing him, and it’s a doozy. He called because he wanted my take on a way to proceed. We bounced around a few ideas, and ended our call after we both committed that he would continue to offer the problem to GOD in prayer, and that I would join with him in this. In a semi-facetious way discussion of Moses, in some of his more melancholy moments, occupied a few minutes of our phone time.
How much of our lives require understanding and wisdom, whether we’re trying to solve an ethical issue or just for everyday living? How easy it is to miss the scope of the need to be wise, to be oblivious to the depth of our need for any number of reasons. How easy it is, for example, for drift to cause us to have an out-of-tune spiritual mind. The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and what many refer to as the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37) links faithfulness with loving GOD with all of our being, including our minds. At the very least, this means the Spirit-enabled capacity to understand that GOD is the ultimate reality (even if we don’t know all of the details), to reason that He has a will for all of creation, including us, and choosing to align our will with His will.
When my mother used to insist that I hold her hand when we crossed the street, holding it tightly, I wanted to pull away because that tight hold felt restrictive. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that her interest and her action was for my well-being, and her ability to see what was coming from both directions far exceeded mine. Feel free to substitute GOD in this equation as it pertains to your life.
Those of us seeking a right life owe it to ourselves and to GOD to recognize that His commands, though they may feel restrictive at times, are for a reason: our best interests. The truth is that He knows better than me (and you). Imagine me snatching my hand from my mother’s hold! Hint: She grew-up in the South during the Depression and was “old school” in how she approached child discipline. I might of thought of pulling away, but I didn’t; I knew better.
Do we know better with GOD to not pull away, to not try to go our own way? All (or most of us) say we want to glorify Him; our submission and obedience does this very thing.
2 Peter 1:3 says that GOD’s divine power has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. Most of all, He gave us Jesus, the Treasure of Heaven, in whom is found all knowledge and wisdom. What treasure is greater than this? I will let Him hold my hand. I need Him to hold my hand.
© Byron. L. Hannon, 2018. All rights reserved for text content.