Forest Lake Talks

7/18/23 Devotional from Ed

July 18, 2023

Text: Proverbs 2:6: For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding

Devotional: In Life Worth Living: A Guide to What Matters Most, Christian theologians and Yale professors Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, and Ryan McAnnally-Linz discuss the "Question," which they describe as the following:

"The Question is about worth, value, good and bad and evil, meaning, purpose, final aims and ends, beauty, truth, justice, what we owe one another, what the world is and who we are and how we live. It is about the success of our lives or their failure." (xv)

In other words, "What's worth wanting?"

This is a question they spend addressing throughout a semester in their Yale course, a course that is one of the most popular on the Yale campus. Isn't there some sense of irony that this class is one of the most popular at one of the nation's most selective colleges? Shouldn't Yale students already have things figured out? After all, they were probably "all-everything" in high school and any previous college they attended!

It turns out that even an Ivy League student may not have everything figured out. Isn't that comforting?

One particular chapter, labeled "How should we live," caught my attention. The authors write about the great Confucian sage Mencius who said that all humans have the following four "sprouts," which we now label "feelings:"

  • Compassion
  • Shame and aversion
  • Modesty and respect
  • The sense of right and wrong

OK, that's great, but here's where it gets interesting. Mencius says that each of these feelings grow as we get older, but there's no guarantee that the sprouts will reach maturity: "If you expose a "sprout to too much sun or let weeds grow over it or don't give it enough water, it will wither and die. Same here, says Mencius. If we don't attend to our sprouts - if we don't nurture them and give them what they need to grow - they won't become virtues." (93)

Please reread the paragraph above, and then read the Scripture. Following in the path of Jesus, reading Scripture, praying, teaching the Bible to children at home, can help all of our "sprouts" become more mature!

There is no better place to "nurture" these "sprouts" than God's church.

Prayer: Holy God, fill us with your Spirit this week and beyond. Help us nurture our sprouts. Amen.

Work Cited: Croasmun, Matthew, Ryan McAnnally-Linz, and Miroslav Volv. Life Worth Living: A Guide to What Matters Most. Penguin Random House, 2023.


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