The Church's Hidden Gem

November 13, 2014

The Church's Hidden Gem

Here's a novel idea. Church is still important because its one of the few places that teaches wisdom. Where else can you go and under one roof and get practical teaching on the following topics?

Wisdom when it comes to finances
Wisdom when it comes to relationships
Wisdom when it comes to sexuality
Wisdom when it comes to raising children
Wisdom when it comes to our work
Wisdom when it comes to our health

Wisdom, is quickly becoming a lost discipline. Primarily due to the fact that we live in a knowledge-saturated world. Nothing is beyond our reach when it comes to information. Its all part of the Google world we live in.

I read recently that this is the first generation that doesn't need their parents to answer any of their questions. What was once the purview of parents to instruct their children about life, is now easily managed by a search on the internet. Yet for all the knowledge that is so easily attainable, little is taught on how to manage that information.

Knowledge is what you can know about a particular subject, while wisdom is what you do with that knowledge. We may be good at teaching about life but losing when it comes to life skills management. In a recent address, David Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times stated that""the essential problems of life are moral problems"" and lamented that we are ""adrift in moral mediocrity.""

As a pastor it is one of the more glaring cultural problems we face. We are witnessing a dire lack of character development and life skills management. The stories I could tell in this area alone could fill volumes.

Couple this with a culture that tells people they are okay and born good and the disconnect becomes more exaggerated over time. Which brings me back to the church. In my mind, there is nowhere else you can go to learn deep and life transforming truths that will build into your life the wisdom needed to navigate life's many seasons than the church.

And I know what some of you are thinking. The church is about the Gospel and shouldn't be a repository for self-help. That may be true but Jesus dealt quite a bit with the ordinary things of life and presented ways of managing it that was infused with wisdom. Look at the life lessons built into these stories:

  • The Good Samaritan
  • The Prodigal Son
  • The Parable of the Talents

Even the well-known Sermon on the Mount is filled with practical life-giving wisdom on how to handle anger, forgiveness, enemies, finances, and even spiritual disciplines.

In fact, when you read the crowd's response to the sermon they were nothing short of awestruck. Now, we all know the danger of just making the Bible nothing more than a moral guidebook. But we can't deny the amount of practical instruction that fills its pages.

What we can never do, though, is give wisdom that is disconnected from the author of that wisdom: God. Which is what Jesus did so well. Though he grabbed people's attention by reaching into their everyday worlds, he would always point them to their heavenly Father, and their need of Him.

Which is why the church has such a unique role in culture. Because few institutions today have the opportunity to take the common struggles we all face, speak with wisdom into them, and then point us to God. And the way I see things, the need to be purveyors of not only the Gospel, but of wisdom as well, is not going to end anytime soon.

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