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March 31, 2019, 12:00 AM

Choosing Wisdom


Grace and peace to you from the triune God. May the words on my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to God.

Are you ready? I know most of you are, Not are you ready for some football? Not are you ready for nachos? Not are you ready to party like it is 1899, to quote Weird Al? No are you ready for the return of Jesus? Are you ready for the second coming of the Messiah? Are you ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

It is interesting because this passage does not tell us how to prepare for the kingdom of heaven. This passage does not contain the prescription for how to be ready. This passage makes almost no grand statements theologically other than to beg the question of whether you are ready for the return of Jesus. This passage does not tell you how to be saved. This passage simply asks are you saved. In Lutheran terms most of you here are saved because most of you here and maybe all, have been baptized. Baptism is the entrance rite to those who are the adopted children of God, thus if you are baptized you are ready. Baptism is the first half of how Jesus told us to get people ready for the kingdom eternal, the other half being teach them to be disciples.

I think however that this and the passage about the thief coming in the middle of the night speak to one group of people. Many of us have met these people. Most of us at a minimum know of these people. The people I am speaking of are the ones who are waiting until they are closer to death to make their piece with God. The people I am speaking about are those who are waiting until nearer the end to confess that their sins might be forgiven because they don't want to have to repent. Constantine was reported to have baptized all but his arm so that he could continue to fight with that arm. Jesus is coming and no man knows the day or the hour and thus we need to be ready when Jesus returns.

I think the application for us is not direct though because by extension we should not wait for many things. We should not wait to put our affairs in order because we do not know the hour we will be called to our eternal home. We should not wait to make amends to those we have harmed because we know not when we and sometimes more importantly when they will be called to the eternal home.

Think about this. Do you know someone who has said, and maybe it was yourself, but have you ever heard, why did they have to go and die, I had something more I needed to say to them. So we know not the day or the hour of Jesus' return but neither do we know the day or the hour a person is called to the eternal home. We need to maintain our affairs in decent order so that we do not have regret when others go. We also need to maintain our affairs in decent order because we do not know when we will be called to our eternal home.

Moving along, I think our first text is an interesting contrast. The text from proverbs is about wise action instead of being a cautionary tale. Our first text starts with “Wisdom built her house.” I could easily look at the immediate contrast of a text that talks about the ability to throw a feast and the planning that took. I could speak about how having the resources to do what was proposed here is not, “Oh I will get to it tomorrow” but instead the result of planning and doing today. In other words it would be easy to show that wise people go ahead and do what they can today and all of that is right there but it is the last line that caught my eye.

'Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.’

It is not so much that this says anything different that the passages above it but I think the wording spoke to some of what I see happening in the world around me. I am thinking of the youth culture in some ways but not in its entirety. We have all met that one person who continues to act like they are a teenager. We all know that one person that never quite grew up. We have all heard at some point in our adult life where a person was asked why they have not grown up. Part of our faith journey is about maturity. Part of our life journey is about maturity and no I am not talking about the shrivel and die maturity, I am talking about the maturity that comes with allowing ourselves to grow and mature into well form adults.

Ok, there are two groups of adults, those who are shriveled up curmudgeons and those who enjoy life in a much deeper way. There are those sad adults who give up their childish ways but never adopt something better and so are always grieving what they have given up. There are also those adults we see who truly enjoy life, they smell the roses, they play games, they laugh, they realize that being an adult means being serious WHEN APPROPRIATE but that there are things to be enjoyed and times for fun. Often being an adult is what allows us to slow down enough when eating to realized when we have had a tremendous meal. Being an adult allows us to play games, see movies, and go to concerts but also to go to work and earn a living and make sure food is on the table and the house is cleaned without resentment for the work. Being an adult often means the work becomes nourishing as well, especially if cooking means cooking for myself and others, especially if earning a living is also about making the world better for everyone, especially if earning a living allows you to spend free time caring for the needy or can be used to empower others to spend their time caring for the needy.

I have met those who have decided that they never want to grow up and on the whole while they wear it as a badge of honor. They dress like teenagers or children, they think like teenagers or children, they act like teenagers or children and my experience of them is that they are fearful of what they do not know and that they realize they are missing something by not growing up. I have met those who are basically old children and on the whole they are not the ones you go to for help because they tend towards undependable. There is in my experience good reason to prefer wisdom over being and old child.

Most of us here are adults and so what would that have to do with us. I think for those of us who have chosen the path of maturity and realize it is not about getting old and crusty, it is incumbent on us to help those coming behind us to see the benefits of maturity. Much like we need to learn to speak in general terms about what you gain from savings and not just how one day you can retire but how it empowers you to have a nicer car in the near term; We need to learn to speak about some of the benefits of maturity, like how clearer thinking and lower anxiety come from having taken care of things. We need to speak about how negotiating something seemingly unsolvable improved our outlook and world. We need to share how our temperance also brought us to places of joy but with out the later pain of hangover and regret. We need to talk about how emotional intemperance can be as damaging as intemperance with food and alcohol. There are many ways that maturity, for those of us who have chosen it, is far superior to being the permanent child in my experience we just need to be good at sharing that with others and helping them along.

I guess the conclusion for today is don't put off what you can do today but mostly because it will serve you well. Make sure you are ready whatever might come as best you can. And then help others to see the benefits that they to might gain by choosing the path of wisdom, doing today and being ready whatever might come. Amen. 

 


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