Here it is, my annual “What I did on my holidays” version of the Monday Morning Minute. Now there are only 335 days until my next vacation . . . but who’s counting?
We went camping twice, first at Elora Gorge and then at Arrowhead. It only took me two hours of camping to accomplish my major goals: smell like smoke and scratch mosquito bites. Camping was great with only one major rainstorm - but that happened at night so it didn’t interfere with our daily activities like napping.
The rest of the time we puttered around home. Since some work was done on our kitchen while we were gone, we had cleaning to do. I built some shelves, checked in on the bees (they are doing well and missed me so much one greeted me with a “bee kiss,” aka sting), and repopulated the kitchen with pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, food, etc. Ribs were smoked. Burgers and chicken were grilled.
Even my brain took a holiday. The one thing I didn’t do much this holiday was read - except for the book of Proverbs. I love the poetic features Solomon uses in his writing. I love the way the “natural” world and the “spiritual” world are so tightly integrated. I love the insights and counsel on life. Not much has changed in the human dilemma since Solomon originally put that book together. Don’t be surprised if Proverbs pops up in our faith discussions over the next several months.
A foundational idea Solomon presents in the book of Proverbs - perhaps we could call it a “pillar of wisdom” - is how everything from the mundane, routine, vanilla-flavoured daily non-events of life to the spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime, WOW moments are subject to divine order and purpose.
Not happy with the government? Solomon assures us that:
The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;
he turns it wherever he will.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the LORD weighs the heart. (Prov. 21:1-2 ESV)
Got something stressing you out? Remember this truth:
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, do not lose sight of these
-- keep sound wisdom and discretion,
and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.
Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught. (Prov. 3:19-26 ESV)
These are not promises that “right with God” guarantees an easy life. These are not platitudes that offer an artificial sense of well-being.
For Solomon, the benefit of wisdom is a refined perspective about life, the nature of God’s created order, the problem of evil, and the hope in a God who offers redemption - even when the wheels fall off our wagon. Proverbs isn’t about winning, “the blessed life,” or avoiding heartache and pain. This is not a list of inputs that guarantee our desired outputs. It is about the skill of living by faith in the Creator God regardless of our circumstances.
With the holiday activities behind me, this now feels like the beginning of autumn - at least in terms of planning and anticipating our life together as a community of faith. Together, we will help each other grow in the life-skills of wisdom. Together, we will support and encourage each other. Together, we will learn how to represent Christ well.
But we have to hurry - there are only 335 days until my next holiday!