Note From The Pastor:
August 20, 2017
From the Pastor’s Desk:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (NRSV)
When I was a teenager I got into some trouble, mostly the kind of trouble you get into from hanging out with the wrong crowd. So my parents decided to send me to my Uncle Mark’s house for the summer. Uncle Mark lived in the middle of nowhere in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He and my aunt had just had a baby and moved into a new house that needed to be stripped and painted… so that was my main task for the summer. I was not happy.
My uncle worked a lot. I didn’t see him all that much, usually just in the evening when he got home from work - and always after he had inspected my day’s work. He wasn't a mean taskmaster, and he was not unfair (though 15 year old me thought otherwise).
Uncle Mark never took issue with the work I had done. It was little things that bothered him, especially the things I didn’t know were a part of the job, things that I never would have thought about: putting tools away where they belong, and the right way to put the lids back on the paint cans. My uncle seemed to be enjoying passing on his wisdom that summer, often with little sayings about whatever he was talking about. I am sure he was pleased with himself. I hated it.
But now, some two decades removed from that summer, I still hear his words in my mind: “Know what you know, but more importantly know what you don’t know.” “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” “Every tool has its place or its case.” You get the idea. Some of the sayings he made up; others, I learned years later, were quotes or proverbs he’d collected along the way.
It doesn't really matter where it comes from; wisdom is wisdom. We can find it in the bible, in books or magazines, in friends, in experiences, and sometimes, even in uncles. It can be hard to take instruction from others, especially if it is about something we think we should already know. But wisdom is taking the instruction anyway; wisdom is always being in an attitude of learning, becoming the perpetual student. There is a lot out there to know, and take it from my Uncle Mark, it’s important to know what you don't know, too.
Grace and Peace,
Cherry Hill United Methodist Church