Friday, September 13, 2013

Wisdom and Folly

The following thoughts are not original to me.  I was at a meeting with other pastors on Tuesday and one of the pastors there shared these thoughts and I was really intrigued by them.  Anyway, Proverbs 9 talks about the invitation of both wisdom and folly.  The idea of the chapter is that both wisdom and folly are calling out to us ... they are both inviting us in to their homes ... both are desiring a relationship with us.  And, what's really interesting is that they both invite us in to a relationship the same way:

"Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.  She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.  She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, 'Let all who are simple come to my house.'  To those who have no sense she says, 'Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed.  Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.'"  (Proverbs 9:1 - 6)

"Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing.  She sits at the door of her house , on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way,  'Let all who are simple come to my house!' To those who have no sense she says, 'Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!'  But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead."  (Proverbs 9:13 - 18)

Every day we're receiving invitations to be wise or to be fools.  The invitations sound the same.  Both wisdom and folly say to us, "Let all who are simple come to my house."  The difference is that wisdom invites you in to something she has prepared, something she has worked hard at, something that requires effort but the hard work pays off later.  Folly invites you to something she has stolen, something that sacrifices integrity, something that is easy now, but will cause pain later.  

The reward of choosing wisdom is "your days will be many, and years will be added to your life." (Proverbs 9:11)  The reward of choosing folly is being found "deep in the realm of the dead."  (Proverbs 9:18).  I'm sure we all have choices that we can look back on and say "Because I listened to that foolish invitation, it left me feeling dead."  A relationship was hurt.  We made a choice that we totally regret.  Our finances suffered.  Our health suffered.  Folly promises so much, but delivers so little.  And, we listen to it so often simply because it's easier to make foolish decisions than wise ones.  But, I'm sure we can also look back on good decisions we made and say "I'm so thankful I did that!  I'm so thankful I decided to work hard because now that hard work is paying off.  I'm so thankful I avoided that mistake because now my life is thriving."  Wisdom rarely offers the easy way but always offers the best way ... the way to life.

Both voices are calling out to you today.  Which invitation will you accept?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shout Out to Pastor's Wives

One of our photographers at Grace Community snapped this pic of my wife and the kids on their way to church this past Sunday.  I love this pic, not just because it's one of my family, but also because it's just a small picture of everything my wife does behind the scenes.  I don't think my wife and I really knew what we were getting in to nearly 11 years ago when I became one of the pastors on staff at Grace.  We have learned so much over the years at Grace Community, but looking back neither of us really knew what being a pastor was going to be all about.  One thing I certainly know for sure, though, is that I could not do what I do if it wasn't for my wife.  She does so much behind the scenes that no one will ever know about.    She's a beautiful picture of grace and patience ... hard work and persistence.   

She talks with people no one knows she's talked too.  She helps people no one knows she's helped.  She makes things and provides things that no one knows she provides.  She has a great ability to focus her efforts on one person or a small group of people and really impact their lives in a powerful way.  She's not "big" on being up front, but has been asked to speak at more places outside the church than I have because of her ability as a counselor.  And, every time she has spoken to a class or a group or at a conference, she has totally nailed it!  My wife is a counselor and her ability to listen beneath the words of others and pour in to their lives, in my opinion, is just incredibly special!  

Her prayers every morning are a powerful way for her to start her day and I know they help empower me and our family and our ministry.  The time she spends in the Bible every morning fills her with truth and nourishes her soul.  Because her soul is full, she is able to give to others.

The life of a pastor's wife is not an easy one.  Please don't get me wrong.  I realize that it's not just pastor's wives who face unique struggles.  A policeman's wife or a fireman's wife or the wife of someone in the armed forces ... wow, what they do and how they do it is simply amazing.  But, I simply just wanted to take a moment and say how amazing my wife is for all she does and how, as a pastor, I'm often the one who gets "thanked" for a message or I get the encouragement notes in the mail and even the occasional gift card.  I'm so grateful for those things, but if it wasn't for my wife, the truth is, I wouldn't be half the pastor ... half the man ... that I am today.  A pastor's wife faces her own unique set of challenges and struggles.  I'm thankful that my wife, and I can say the same of the other pastor's wives here at Grace, face those struggles with courage and grace.  So, if you know the wife of a pastor, take a moment to simply say "thanks."  What they do often goes unseen and unnoticed, but is a driving force behind their husband and the ministry of the church!

I love my wife!

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