Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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September 11 – Wisdom For Real Life

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” Proverbs 24:27 

Devotional Thought For The Day

This is a proverb that used to be well known and utilized – but by the time I was a young man, I must confess that it was for the most part forgotten.  I was first taught it poignantly when I was invited to dinner at a rural home by one of the members of our vicarage congregation in Minnesota.  Dinner was lovely though the house was old, somewhat dark, and cool.  Dishes were done in the sink with water from the hand pump. There was no indoor plumbing in this house and no central heat/air conditioning. We had noticed when driving down the lane to the house a wonderful new “state of the art” dairy barn sitting not far from the house. The owner said it had every modern convenience.  I couldn’t help but ask – quite humbly and softly – why the fancy barn while the family lived in such primitive conditions.  His response was classic: “A new barn will build a new house; a new house will never build a new barn.”

My grandmother was raised in a “sod house” on the farm out in Nebraska. Her father had the same wisdom – you have to take care of your farm, your business, your financial base, before purchasing nicer things.  I’m certain that many other pioneer families endured the same kind of rigors following the wisdom of this proverb – and in my younger years as a pastor I heard many such accounts from those who lived through those rigors, a generation now passed away.  At the time I heard these stories they seemed unbelievable – no one would have allowed people to live like that, raise children in those conditions, during my lifetime.  It has gotten worse over the course of my lifetime, the past forty years – the burying of the wisdom of this proverb – as more and more people have high expectations of what they are privileged to “have,” and have piled up massive debt, not only in mortgages but also for cars, big kid toys, and all other manner of luxury.  At the same time, the expectation that we work hard first and defer gratification has become nonsensical, perhaps even insane, to many of our younger people today.

Even more difficult for us, perhaps even absurd, was the reality that the first “framed” building in many of these pioneer settings was the church.  That people would take care of their church first, and consider that a higher priority than their own personal living conditions, comforts, and privileges, seems so bizarre and counter-cultural that we can scarce imagine it. In our time most of us live in reasonably comfortable and modern homes while many congregations struggle to survive financially – and all we can do is wring our hands, bow our heads, and complain about how tough the economy is these days. And it is – when we can barely afford our own personal debt!  But what is it that constitutes our debt and makes it so difficult to manage?  You see the consequence of forgetting this proverb – and the differences between those seeking to build something and those who have little initiative for anything other than their own comforts and pleasures.

Thankfully the Lord continues to watch out for us and to watch over us.  To a large degree this is through His Word, including this proverb. There are consequences for ignoring His wisdom – the worst of which have to do with idolatry toward things, pride in possessions, and a scope for our existence which is narrowed down to the “now” – taking little thought for how we will look at our lives when older, or the eternal meaning of our earthly lives, or our relationship with God.  Dazzled and busied by all of the pleasures of life we have little time to dwell on His love, little inclination to suffer repentance, no concern for confessing our sins, no interest in His kingdom, and no compassion for those who remain in the darkness of ignorance of His love.  His forgiveness and love remains sure and foundational – if only we can find time to return to it. The wisdom of this proverb attempts to help us with that.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, You invested much to provide us with forgiveness and eternal life – so that we might be redeemed and restored to a reconciled relationship of love with our Heavenly Father.  This is a foundation for life which yields rich dividends for eternity. Help us to utilize all of the loving wisdom from Your Word that we build our houses and our lives on You and Your Word. Amen.