Monday, March 30, 2009
Yeah, I've joined the ranks of having alliteration. Not sure if that one will stick. I thought of Monday: Musings, Memories, Madness, Masterpiece (a little presumptuous I thought).
Yes, well. Moving on.
This last week was such a lesson for me on Pride. I, comically, discovered I had developed a bit of a self-righteous pride in my reflections on how well I'd received my spiritual rebukes! I had the opportunity to share how I had evidently not conquered those prideful notions in Sunday School. You'd think I'd have learned. Oh no. God had yet to bring me down!
This Sunday our Youth Pastor was to give the message. His topic was known to me beforehand as I receive our church email. I wasn't thrilled. His topic was on the Prodigal Child. Now, I know there are such treasures to glean from this parable, but I was sure I had gathered them all. It's a good story, but I'd heard it from childhood an indeterminable amount of times! I had placed myself in all the principal character's shoes to try and see all the possible aspects of application that I could. I seated myself in anticipation of hearing something that if nothing else, would only confirm what I already knew. Oh, what a studied Christian I am, and this young youth pastor...well, I'll listen and even take notes, if just to keep myself occupied.
Let me back up just a bit. All my life I have wanted to be super smart. Intellectual. Gifted. When I was a little girl in elementary school, I begged to take the test to see if I, indeed, was as gifted as I presumed myself to be. My sister was, after all, and it's got to be genetic, right? It's not. At least not in my case! I am smart, and I did well in school, but I am not "gifted." I was devastated. They told me I missed it by 2 points. I was so close! Truly I cried and cried as my little heart just knew I wasn't special. Oh, my mom and other people I'm sure, tried to assure me that I was indeed special and smart. I remember people being so surprised to find out I was valedictorian. I was really proud of that, though the fact is somewhat muted since I had such a tiny class and I didn't have a perfect GPA! I digress...
I still desire to have a "gifted" intelligence. I am so envious of those who go to seminary. I would love to do that, just for the fun of it! I love to learn, and to study in an upper graduate level would be heavenly. One problem...I don't have a bachelors degree. I almost finished my business degree, but changed my field to horticulture and now only have an Associates Degree to show for my 4 years and lot's of money's worth of college. I thoroughly devour scholarly teaching and speaking. My favorite pastors and leaders have been those who challenged my vocabulary! I strive to read and learn, nonetheless, in my singular effort to improve my brainpower. I, apparently, still take some level of pride in my knowledge and God was about to show me I don't know as much as I think I do. Perhaps He knows that I would fight pharisitical
tendencies and bask in my pious wealth of knowledge...
Back to yesterday:
He began his sermon by reading the first part of the parable. Yeah, yeah. Oh, what? What did he say? The father gave the inheritance to BOTH sons? Let me look at that...oh. huh. Sure enough. I never noticed that before. So, the older son had his inheritance the whole time. That intensified the final passage of the parable when he [the older son] refused to party at the return of his brother. How had I missed that little tidbit? Gee, maybe I should really listen. Perhaps there is something else here that I missed.
"There will always be opposition when Grace is fully given." Huh. We do want justice, don't we? Is that just me? Do I oppose grace? Did someone oppose the grace that God has bestowed so fully on me? Wow. I guess I can learn more. I've not ever taken that lesson from this parable before. God has humbled me. I'm not as "gifted" in my Biblical knowledge as I presumed myself to be.
I'm so thankful that God's Word is living and active! It's a book that I never want to put down. It's a letter that I hope to reread over and over. I don't care if that last statement is redundant! I'm not gifted, so I don't have to act like I am ultra intelligent!