“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite” (Proverbs 23:1-2). Temperance. It’s an older word and generally means “self-control” or “restraint.” That’s the point of this proverb: it is a wonderful and dangerous place: eating in the midst of a ruler. Aggressive handling of a fork or a slurping action at the cup will cause your return invitation to be lost.
I’ve been on Twitter today and I was struck by an overall sense of danger. The danger presented to me was in the form of “You have GOT to say something about that!” And that. And that. And that, that, that, that and that. They all seemed so inviting; they all seemed ripe for the witty picking or the acerbic comment or the fileting note. They begged me or, as Khan says about Admiral Kirk, “he tasks me and I shall have him!”
If I printed out each Tweet that I wanted to address at 9:00 this morning, I would probably not finish answering them by close-of-business. And, upon waking tomorrow, there would be just as many as today. Now, this isn’t a justification for inaction or silence. Those things are needed in our culture; this place is a soup-sandwich.
However, it proves to me again what I’ve been thinking for some time: or culture is like the dam of a large reservoir has broken. It rushes here and there. It soaks and inundates everything. It creates stinking still water and threatening rips. And, once it has finished its “deluginous” work (just made up that word), everything will be affected.
Everything but what was never moved in the first place: the church. Beloved, now more than ever, a hearty understanding of the Bible’s plotline (creation, fall, redemption and consummation) is crucial. You will get lost without it. You will get dragged under without it. You will have no answers to our culture without it. Read your copy of God’s word. Take time to pray through the Lord’s Prayer. Come to Bible study and Sunday school. Take notes during the sermon. Eat the Supper faithfully.
These will equip you, ground you, encourage and help you. The Spirit will see to it (Isaiah 55:8-11).
Heaven soon, Pastor Gabe