Someone once well said, “Everyone is ignorant, just on different subjects.” No, they weren’t being mean. Think about it, even the most intelligent person on earth cannot possibly know everything about everything. There will always be something you are ignorant of; actually, the more you learn the more you realize just how much you will never know! But it would be nice to know everything… or would it? Oh wait, that’s what got Eve in trouble isn’t it? Some things are better left unknown.
The Bible puts a difference between knowledge as God sees it and worldly knowledge. It says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” Proverbs 1:7, if you do not begin with the Lord it cannot be true knowledge. A look at another passage will tell us that the only way for a man to become wise is to first become a fool (1 Corinthians 3:18) that is, to realize his foolishness in trusting in himself and begin to trust God instead. Any learning not based on the fear of God is not worth our time.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves… Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3
This does not mean that God wants us to study the Bible and learn nothing else, that would be completely contrary to the teaching of the Bible which portrays a very practical Christianity lived by simple and learned alike. I think God wants us to learn about his world, after all, he created it. But we need to use some discernment and really check our motives. Am I learning something to help me as God’s servant or is it all about my ego? The goal is not to do more or better than everyone else but to faithfully and productively serve in the realm that God has assigned to us. It would be a terrible shame to pour a lifetime of effort into becoming intelligent and miss the whole purpose of our existence!
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
We have no purpose without the Lord! The whole reason for our existence is to please him; he gives us meaning and worth. What we do and learn should only be tools with which to please him.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11
A few weeks ago Daddy brought up something in a sermon that I had never thought much about. He was talking about stewardship and reading from the fourth chapter of 1 Corinthians. Here Paul refers to Christians as “stewards of the mysteries of God”. Had you ever thought of yourself as a steward of the mysteries of God? I don’t think I had. What does that mean exactly? What are these mysteries?
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1Timothy 3:16
This is the mystery: it is the gospel of Christ. Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus asking them to pray that he would be able to boldly proclaim “the mystery of the gospel” Ephesians 6:19. We are stewards of the gospel! God has entrusted us with his gospel, this is how we please him, this is our purpose. It pleases him when we trust him with our lives and realize that all our knowledge is foolishness without him and it pleases him when we teach others to do the same. That’s right – the great commission, it was given to all of us that believe. We are to go into all the world to preach the gospel (revealing the mysteries of God) to every creature.
Now we come up with all kinds of excuses for why we can’t share the gospel… “That isn’t my gift.” or “He didn’t mean that for me.” maybe even, “I just have a reserved nature.” Why make excuses? A true believer will have no use for them, a true believer will desire to obey the commands of his Lord. Sharing the gospel is proof that God is working in your life and reluctance to do so is a good sign that he may not be. Where did I get this? Matthew 12:34 says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” In other words, when your heart is full it leaks through your mouth. I know we’re all pretty good liars, but let’s face it; what is in your heart will eventually present itself in what you say.
So what does that mean for us? It’s scary really, and this is why; the bulk of professed believers do not appear to be at all interested in participating in any deep conversation on the subject of their faith; a subject which ought to be ever on their minds. Christians in general avoid any discussion of Christianity and if one brings up a topic of any real value, the subject is treated at best very dryly. Let’s be honest here… Is this Christianity? Can the soul delivered from everlasting damnation truly be silent on the subject of that deliverance? This doesn’t mean we will never be tempted to be silent or even that we will never want to be silent; it only means that in the end God’s Word will overtake us and we won’t have the strength to contain it.
“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Jeremiah 20:9
May each of us be like Jeremiah, may the Word of God burn as a fire in our hearts so that we cannot help but speak it. We need to have the compassion to plead with others for their souls. I love the quote from Hannah W. Smith that simply says, “We must prove to posses that which we profess.” May we prove this profession by our love for others and be willing to let go of pride not caring whether or not people consider us to be intelligent. This is our basis for all learning, to please our Lord and lead others to please him as well. Remember to take care especially when sharing the gospel to speak and write in a way which the hearers will understand. It is not important that we impress sinners with our intellect: it is important that we impress the simple power of the Gospel on their hearts.