I know of professional students….or that’s what we call them at our house. People who hoard great thoughts, heaping them up, packing each crevice of their gray matter with ideas. And that’s where they stay. The abundance of thoughts creates great compost for their pride, and a strange addiction to information begins to establish a complex root system in their intellect. What does it matter if one can quote a famous author, or parse something in Greek, if it is not used for others? The words “sound brass and tinkling cymbal” come to mind. In essence, Paul says, “So??”
I can’t tell you how often I’ve followed a winding and tangled discussion on some complex topic or other, with individuals parading their big brains on elaborate floats in an arduous “discussion” parade (comprised of one monologue after another), where I was sorely tempted to type in a reply which simply said, “SO??” I’m not that cheeky…but my point is, what difference does it make? How does this information edify? Have you been made a better person, or bettered someone else with it?
You are current on all the popular “how to” books. So? If you have been impressed by what you’ve read, why doesn’t it show? Many have “itching ears,” wanting to hear new thoughts, and be entertained by interesting stories. They have an affinity for cleverness. They want to be on the cutting edge of what’s hot in the CBD catalog. An extensive bibliography has been accrued. So?
Most importantly, what if you read your Bible – chapter upon chapter – every day? Your Bible is shiny and impressively weighty, with pages of study helps. It even shows wear. You can find even the most obscure of passages the pastor announces on Sunday morning…faster than anyone else! So? If you forget about it as soon as you are done, can’t remember what you read by lunchtime, and are rarely changed by what you have discovered there, what’s the point? When we look into the mirror of the Word, we are expected to correct the flaws it reveals. Isn’t that what the Bible says about itself?
Learn to meditate. Lie down in green pastures and chew it over and over again. Get everything possible that you can from what you are reading – assimilate it…use it to nourish your mind, body and soul, and benefit others in turn. At the risk of sounding vulgar, even the end product of bovine rumination is beneficial to others. It fertilizes, enriches the soil, prepares it to receive seed so that it may produce quality nutrition for others.
Thomas a’ Kempis had some thoughts on this score:
Surely, high words do not make a man holy and just; but a virtuous life maketh him dear to God.
I had rather feel compunction, than understand the definition thereof.
If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would all that profit thee without the love of God and without grace?
Selah. Pause. Take a break (without your texting doohicky), and think about it.