Friday, May 22, 2009

Finding a Balance

Today I'm substitute teaching for a friend. He's the french teacher at the high school. Since this is french class, I'm requiring everyone who wants to go to the bathroom or get a drink to ask me in french. It's proving to be quite interesting how sophomores and juniors in second-year french have no idea how to pronounce things like "pui" and "j'aller."

So I wrote it on the board phonetically. Some of them are still doing without water and the bathroom because they refuse to say it. They don't want to look stupid, like "know-nothings."

While they are doing their writing assignments, I've had time to read my daily bible -- I Corinthians 8.

You know, I love how the bible is all about balance. Essentially, balance means that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. How true! How many bad things are simply a corruption of a good thing? Too much chocolate -- too much candy -- too much work -- too much play -- too much talking -- too much waiting -- too busy -- too much sleep -- too much!

Here's a quote from the first part of the chapter --

We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.

Once in awhile I have to just stop and admit that I just flat don't know -- but maybe I can find the answer. And sometimes I can't even find the answer. It's humbling to admit, and yet good to know that God really does know it all. And He'll tell me the answer if I simply ask. Is there any better advice for a young Christian?

And here is the best part of the chapter, for me:

But knowing isn't everything. If it becomes everything, some people end up as know-it-alls who treat others as know-nothings. Real knowledge isn't that insensitive.

We do love to measure things, don't we? We like to know that we're this smart or that tall. Or that we're this old, or that far along in our studies, or we've been a Christian this many years.

There was one group that really irritated Jesus -- the Pharisees. They were all about the rules and paid no attention to the "spirit of the law," or the reasons behind the rules. They were the types of know-it-alls to whom Paul refers. They were highly respected, and originally had the right idea -- but it became a corruption of the good idea when it became rules and laws and a constant measuring of everything. It gave them big heads, and some of them treated non-Pharisees as "know-nothings."

REAL KNOWLEDGE ISN'T THAT INSENSITIVE. Wow! Could Paul have said it any better?

The Pharisees like Josepheus (who provided the tomb for Jesus' burial) were the ones who were the good ones -- who realised that God really does know it all, and while they knew a lot, they certainly didn't know everything. They realised that there has to be a balance between the rules and the knowing that we can never keep them all.

There has to be grace. And there has to be a Saviour. We have to stop sometimes and admit that we just don't know it all, and that if you can't keep every rule, maybe you should just concentrate on the reason for the rule.

Lord God, please enable me today to be humble before these teenagers, to let them know that I certainly don't know it all, and that the best thing any Christian can do is pursue You in everything. Amen.