Updated: Feb 12, 2018
For reasons that I won't detail here, I did not preach at either of my churches today, though I was present at both. Instead, I sat and listened to two other preachers deliver what, quite honestly, were extraordinary sermons. One preacher taught on the topic of love, which is appropriate considering Valentine's Day is only three days away. The other gave an historical account of the Transfiguration of Jesus, which, again, is appropriate considering the start of Lent on Wednesday. These were two very different sermons delivered in two very different styles by two very different men who considered two very different passages of Scripture--one from Revelation 2 and the other from Mark 9. However, in both cases, the message was challenging and clear, and the two sermons together contained a nugget of unintended truth that I feel compelled to share.
We often think of wisdom in monolithic terms, but, in truth, wisdom comes in many forms. Some wisdom is more practical, which was the case in the first sermon on Revelation 2. We were challenged to love Christ more, a very "rubber-meets-the-road" admonition. Some wisdom is more pedagogical (i.e., instructional), which would characterize well the second sermon on the Transfiguration. We were challenged to consider the historical event detailed in Mark 9 and to apply its truths to our lives. Again, some wisdom is more theoretical or logic-driven, some is more experiential, and some is more emotional. But whatever the type, wisdom is wisdom, and when it is applied rightly to our lives, we become anti-fools. That is to say, when we apply right practice, right instruction, right logic, right experience, and right emotion to the decisions we make, we are considered wise.
Unfortunately, as I reflect on this fact, I realize that I am too often unwise. In far too many instances, I practice foolishness by spending too much time on the computer, too much time at work, and too much time worrying about the past; by rejecting the wise instruction of peers and colleagues; by harboring unreasonable expectations of myself and others; by voluntarily experiencing things that I would be better served to spurn; and by allowing irrational emotions to drive my decision-making when more dispassion is in order. You see, the wisdom of the two preachers today reminded me of my own foolishness. Two men of God served as preachers to the preacher! God's Spirit used them to challenge me in my faith.
But I'm not distraught by this revelation...not in the least. Like everyone else in this world, I am a fallen, depraved individual in need of God's grace and mercy. And because of my weaknesses, God can demonstrate his strength to the world. As I allow God to change me into the person he has called me to be, I become a testimony to his grandeur, his power, his love, and his redemption. So, I say, "Preach on preachers! Challenge me some more!" I want to recognize my failures so that God can demonstrate his "Almightiness" one more time. I may not be perfect, but I can be perfected!