“Complaining about a silent God with a closed Bible, is like complaining about no text messages with a turned off phone.”
Scripture & Devotion: Scriptural focus: Ecclesiastes 9:17-18; 10: 4, 12-14
The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but a sinner destroys much good… If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest. Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips. At the beginning his words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness – and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming – who can tell what will happen after him?
Good advice for all times
Wisdom. Calmness, Graciousness. These words seem in short supply these days. All one has to do is to turn on the television to see angry crowds shouting insults at law enforcement officers, looting, destroying property, setting fires, spray-painting graffiti (often containing offensive language) on countless buildings in dozens of cities. Senseless acts of violence have been captured on camera and broadcast for all the world to see. Media personalities and journalists seem to have forgotten that the news should be reported as factually as possible. There is bias, there is “spin”, there are half-truths and selected information tailored to support whatever conservative or liberal agenda a particular station ascribes to. Things, in short, are a mess.
Other than the period of civil unrest in the late 1960’s, I cannot remember a time when the average citizen has been so eager to become involved in attempting to influence events of national importance. In the past few weeks, I have been contacted by family members, friends, and acquaintances who were eager to tell me about demonstrations they have attended, documentaries and podcast videos they have watched, writings they have found and posted on their websites. Some of the people I am closest to have shared emails and video links of a political nature looking at things from various perspectives, and often from opposite extremes. There is clarity and confusion in equal measure, and one hardly knows what to believe anymore.
Today, thousands of years after they were written, the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes seem so relevant and contemporary: observations about the wise and the foolish, the powerful and the powerless, things as they are and as they should be. One theme seems to be that events and circumstances like those we are now witnessing have existed throughout the ages of man, that there is “nothing new under the sun.” So what are people to do in times such as these?
First, we as Christians have an obligation to continue to develop Christ-like qualities in ourselves and to treat others in a Christ-like manner. This is a clear and uncompromising stance. Our prayers and our efforts must be to see all people as worthy. Jesus did not come to save only his own people, or people of only one faith, or of one area of the world, or of one race, or of only one period in history. Secondly, we need to be firmly grounded in scripture, like the passage above which advocates wisdom, calmness, graciousness. Only then will we remember to focus on demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (the fruit of the Holy Spirit recorded in Galatians 5:22-23), even in the midst of chaos. Finally, no matter what is going on around us or what flashpoints we encounter (especially among friends and family), our responsibility should be to live out the teachings of Jesus and not stray from the path he has established by his life and the sacrifice of his death on the cross for our redemption. In a world that clearly still needs a Savior, we may be the only connection to Jesus and his mercy and grace that some will ever see.
"Calmness can lay great errors to rest." Lord, grant us Your peace, Your calmness in the face of all that we encounter. Make us conduits of Your Spirit in our daily lives. Continue to develop in us the fruit of Your spirit that we might be filled to overflowing with all that You have for us.