“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways, acknowledge him,
and he will make your path straight.”
This is a classic and a long time favorite verse of mine. Often do I trust God based on the depth of my understanding. Pitiful. Unwise.
I’m not that smart to start with. God is brilliant, mystifying, stupefying. How dare I reduce him and his ways to my brain power. Such in-the-box thinking is a great way to produce worry. Just rely on what you can understand and watch the anxiety roll in like waves.
Hobo theologians must sometimes release the mind and let “Jesus take the wheel.” (Yes, I just quoted that.)
Christ is in all parts of life, even the mundane activities. Unfortunately, we have lost sight of God’s accessibility in the simple.
In the gospels, when John the Baptist says the kingdom of heaven is at hand, he is literally saying it is in our midst. It’s everywhere, all around us and in us. God took all his ‘possessions’ (so to speak) and moved into the world with us. Now his ‘stuff’ is strewn all over the place, just begging to be tripped over.
We do not need to go off to another country or spend our lives in prayer closets to encounter God and walk with him. In fact, Paul seems to speak directly against this, actually suggesting something that looks like quite a boring, ordinary life. He writes that we should make it our ambition to live a quiet life, to work with our hands, and mind our own business. This is pleasing to the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:1)
I wonder if people still believe that? Everything in our culture says go, go, go! An important life is a busy life, not a quiet life. Churches create more and more programs. Christians meddle. But what would it look like to “mind your own business,” to be quiet? I’m not sure, but it sounds wonderful.
I wonder if the missional church movement holds some answers…
Thielicke’s little book has many big ideas contained in its small pages. As a theologian speaking to other ‘theologians’ (though I would not consider myself in that category), his words resonate. Theology can indeed be a threat to us. It can actually cause us to sin if we are not careful. We can become prideful and divisive.
We get our three semesters of Systematic Theology, and we become pedantic sesquipedalians, with our ‘prolegomenon’ and ‘eschatological’ vocabulary words floating around. But are we better for it? Do we have changed lives? What a great reminder Thielicke gives us! Our focus should be on God and his Glory.I need to remember this in my own life, especially as I write and preach. I must remind myself why I do what I do. I am not here for the acclaim or a title, but to learn and to serve and to proclaim the Gospel.
I could go on about all the various lessons I have learned from Thielicke’s book, but what stands out most to me is his statement that we should view every new idea as a challenge to our faith.
He says if we latch on to other’s ideas, we essentially become their disciples rather than Jesus’. This seemed so radical to me at first, but the more I think about it, the more it rings true in my heart. How often I have been caught up with some new craze or fad, religious though it may be. Thielicke calls me to a higher standard, a place of total allegiance.
All other ideas and theories must become secondary to Christ and his teachings. I am his first and foremost. Ecclesiastes echoes Thielicke’s sentiments when it talks about how there is no end to the writing of books. By this, I believe it means there seems to be no end to new ideas and new comments and commentaries, but Thielicke reminds us only God’s word remains. I should be devoted solely to God and his ideas.