Monday, March 05, 2007

Time and Wisdom Part 2

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 25th February 2007 in GRIIS, on Time and Wisdom Part 2. It was preached in Indonesian and I personally translated to English. Newton Life has it preached in Mandarin with English translation which combines both Part 1 and Part 2 together.

Moses asked for a heart of wisdom, not for a smart mind. We can acquire intelligence from schools and train ourselves mechanically, but we cannot acquire wisdom in that way. Many people accumulate cognitive understanding but very few truly have a heart of wisdom. Wisdom surpasses cognitive collection of knowledge. Knowledge has nothing to do with good and evil, but wisdom has.

How then do we get a heart of true wisdom? The ‘true’ is mentioned here because the term wisdom is often measured in various ways. But true wisdom has a relation with God and the foundation is in the fear of the Lord.

Socrates said that knowing oneself is the beginning of understanding and one must know himself before knowing others. However, he cannot answer the question of how one can truly know himself. This cannot be done without external help.

Even physically we need a mirror to see ourselves. The Word of God is like a mirror that reflects who we really are. Through God’s Word, we see our weaknesses, our wretchedness and our impurities, and are therefored exhorted to correct ourselves.

Time and wisdom are related. How we use our time will greatly affect our future. And our use of time is dependent on our understanding of the true meaning and significance of time.

Our existence as a human being before God is a great asset. This existence is of a great value. Jesus said that it profits not to gain the whole world and lose one’s soul. This asset is the foundation of all our other assets. Our time and space given to us will influence how far we can explore and how much we can impact.

The space and time that Jesus had while living in the world is so small. He never traveled more than a few miles from his hometown and only lived up to 33.5 years, but He fully maximized His limited time and space.

What we have then should not be measured only with material things. Time is our basic property.

Continuing from last week, we have 3 more points on what time is.

5. Time is the container of history

History is not just an accumulation of events but is a reflection of meaningful events. It is the shadow of the giants. It concerns with things that are that are related to eternal value. And history is contained in time. Since God works out His purposes through history, we ought to ask what our lives have to do with the history of redemption. Historians understand history as the interaction between human and nature but Christians understand history from God’s creation, redemption and consummation.

The will of giants throughout history have great power of influence, like Mao Zedong, Hitler, Napoleon, etc. and all humans also have their own will. Is history then determined by the will of man? History is not determined by the will of man, but by God. There is a red thread in history leading to a determined end. This red thread is a stream that is centered on God’s will and overrule the stream of human will. It shows that the sovereignty of God is higher than the will of man.

God created the world through Christ and would judge the world through Him. Hence Jesus said He is the Alpha and the Omega. History is His Story, the story of God. If we fail to see God’s interference in time, we will never understand history. We only have the dates and memory of human events. But if we look upward and we know the One who sits upon the throne of heaven is interfering with the world, because it is created by Him and would be accounted to Him, hence the appearance of Jesus Christ in history is significant in revealing the direction of history.

6. Time is a tough testifier and strict examiner

Who wants to put their kids in schools where the exams are very easy and require no study? Only stupid parents will do so. Socrates says an unexamined life is not worth living. Under the test of time, many people fall away and compromise. So time is a great and uncompromising judge of all. If we perservere through the test of time that is so tough and cruel, we will eventually be proven to be a faithful Christian who follows the Lord and glorifies Him.

7. Time is a faithful friend

Time will continue to accompany us throughout our life. When everyone has left us, it will still be by our side, comforting us. It will stand as a witness to our good testimony.


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