Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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March 20 – The Pursuit Of Wisdom

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” Psalm 23:22,23

Devotional Thought For The Day

This instruction certainly pertains to our biological earthly parents, even though we are well aware of their weaknesses and foibles. The commandment to “honor your father and your mother” is durative; there are no conditions when it ceases to be applicable, as this verse makes clear. It is also one of the most frequently broken commandments – as there are many people who languish in old age, some never visited by their children, some disrespected and taken advantage of by their children, and some physically, verbally, and mentally abused by their children.

How did this come to be, that one of the most basic principles of civility and decency has come to be utterly disregarded by people who still assume that they are honorable?  There is no question that this is a generational thing. The “greatest” generation suffered when their parents became elderly – their parents had little means of independent living in retirement, often stayed with their children, and often made life miserable for others with their idiosyncrasies, their oddities, their refusal to embrace modernity, and their illnesses – mental also. That “greatest” and “noblest” generation determined never to burden their children in this manner [which betrayed a deep bitterness toward their parents, and a distaste for “honoring” these parents] – and this melded well with the selfishness of their own children, and so many of them sit in nursing homes all alone. This pattern – not that of previous generations – was then osmosed and inculcated into the value system of the next generation, and the next, and continues on to this day. The circumstance of the elderly in America is one of the darkest and most dismal blights on our culture.

We also have a heavenly “Father,” and some identify the bride of Christ, the church, as a kind of spiritual “mother.” Respect for these “spiritual parents” has also diminished greatly over the past two or three generations.  Though all blessings are accurately traced to the “Father of lights” [James 1:17], and all spiritual blessings are bestowed by God through the genuine ministry of His church [Eph. 4:4-16], very few are willing to actually “listen” to our Father, and many “despise” our mother, the church – thinking that we get to call the shots, to determine what “church” is, and to import our own agenda and wisdom into the church, pushing aside God’s will and His mission and ministry of the blessed Word and Sacraments. This is the same dynamic that arises naturally in sinful hearts and minds toward earthly parents – a rebellious despising of authority, even the God given authority of those who gave us life! All rebellion against and despising of authority is in reality rejection of the ultimate Authority, God Himself!

Convicted of such sin, we certainly need to turn our hearts to “truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” Like many other pastors, I was most deeply blessed with the opportunity to pursue these things intensely for four years of full time seminary instruction. I soon came to understand that nothing in life – save my dear wife and children – was more precious and valuable to me than what I received in this education in God’s Word. My vocation, my calling and place in life, has enabled me to continue this pursuit all these years now, and still, to this day, nothing is more valuable.  The wisdom and truth centers in God’s great mercy, forgiveness, and love in Christ Jesus. All Scripture centers in Him, He Who is “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world,” that One Who promises: “He that believes the Son has everlasting life.” [Jn. 1:29; Jn. 3:16; Jn. 5:39; Lk. 24:25-27; Acts 26:22,23] He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and as the Scripture promises: “To Him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.” [Acts 10:43]

Pastors, at least those devoted to “truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding,” continue to freely offer these blessings to any and all who are willing to receive them. Though pastors are usually “paid” by the members of the congregation who call them, they do not get to set their fees and charges – but freely offer what has first been freely given to them, and gratefully accept what others decide their support to be. So, within the church [our mother] we do not have to “buy” the Father’s truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding; these are freely offered to us in worship and Bible Class. It is one of the most astonishing demonstrations of spiritual rebellion and foolishness that so few take advantage of this.

I hope your earthly parents gave you good advice and instruction in this matter, and that you honor them by investing yourself in obtaining the wisdom of God’s Word! Regardless, our heavenly Father and our spiritual mother continue to exhort and encourage us to gain “truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding,” and they remain fully committed to providing these blessings, especially that wisdom and truth of God’s gracious mercy, forgiveness, and redemption in Christ Jesus. So this proverb remains directly applicable to each of us – and only the most despicable and rebellious choose to despise this instruction and guidance of their parents, rather than honoring them.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, our sinful nature compels us to rebel against Your Word, and to ignore it. We are capable of manufacturing a powerful case against submitting to Your Word, Your ministry, and Your church – and we show our utter disrespect toward You when we refuse to receive Your truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding by hearing and studying Your Word. Grant us forgiveness for this great wickedness, and bend our hearts through repentance and faith, so that we come to cherish Your greatest blessings. Amen.