Unlearning

learning_unlearning

Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 65; 147:1-11, Micah 3:9-4:5, Revelation 8:1-13, Luke 10:17-24


It can be hard to tell when Jesus is paying you a compliment. Consider, for instance, these words he had for the disciples: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

“Infants?” That must have drawn a little disciple side-eye. Jesus kept a supply of sharpened irony in his rhetorical toolbox.

The disciples had divested themselves of worldly interests and possessions and were following an itinerant, nearly homeless preacher endorsing a love so radical it bordered on naivety; they were about as far as you could get from the sophisticated and elite leaders of the world. The sophisticated and elite sought and held tightly to power – social, financial, and religious – in the vain hope it meant something. Our material successes will be meaningless and ultimately unfulfilling if we don’t understand them as means to serve a greater good, specifically the Kingdom of God. The greater our resources, the harder we must work to remain humble about their purpose and employ.

Jesus wasted no time tearing out any hint of worldly wisdom before it could take root in his disciples’ hearts. When they delighted in their own power to cast out demons, he told them: “Do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” A little earlier he’d had to set them straight about arguing over who among them was the greatest. Becoming truly wise and intelligent was a matter of unlearning what the world had taught them.

Of course not everyone who achieves worldly success is by default a spiritual failure. The ministry of Christ and his disciples depended in part on the support of people who had resources to spare. Homeless shelters and food banks need cash as much as they need volunteers. Wisdom knows our true joy, regardless of circumstance, is found in being citizens of God’s Kingdom. That joy frees us from worrying about looking wise or intelligent to the world, because we are children of God.

Comfort: You are not defined by your worldly status.

Challenge: Let yourself be a fool for Christ.

Prayer: Loving God, clear my head of the world’s ways, and fill it with Yours. Amen.

Discussion: Have you ever held onto something that was bad for you, because letting it go might seem like failure?

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