Growing in Understanding

LincolnHow do you know what you know? Is everything always clear to you? I know that I learn as my experiences pile up and I am exposed to other ways of thinking. Learning seems to me to be cumulative. Or maybe it is wisdom that is cumulative as the experiences pile up. Guess that last perspective is the right one.

In the Bible it talks about how Jesus grew in “wisdom and understanding.”I sure would like to know how that occurred. We will have an opportunity to find out, sometime. Recently Judy, Brent and I went to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. There was a full-blown traveling exhibit featuring Abraham Lincoln. What a fascinating time together of learning, pondering, and personal reflection. A time to grow in my personal understanding of the man, his times and his issues.

photo-14 Imaciation ProclimationIt is clear that Lincoln’s decision to push through the Emancipation Proclamation was driven by the fact of the civil war not going well for the North. Along with that reality, he experienced the growing moral conviction that freeing the slaves was the right, and necessary, thing to do. I wonder if the North had been winning the war from the beginning, would Emancipation still have been one of the results? Perhaps, perhaps not?

Thinking about Lincoln’s learning curve of insight and applied knowledge, i.e.wisdom, is helpful to me. I certainly realize I do not have all the answers, about anything. Yet, I am encouraged that even at a “mature age” I still can learn and grow in understanding and wisdom. You can too!

I learn more each day about the human condition. About how the activities of daily living mold and shape my thoughts and subsequent actions. For example, I am more convinced than ever that the “Why” of saving for retirement is even more important than the “how” of saving for retirement. The “how” includes the activities of enrollment in a retirement plan and the selection of investments. Obviously important! However, if the “why” has not penetrated either our heart or mind, we will never even get to those steps of ‘How.” We are stuck.

Less that 25% of our ministers and Christian leaders are prepared for the time when the paycheck stops, or income is diminished. It is encouraging when one new pastor grows in understanding and wisdom about this issue. As they begin to envision a lifetime of ministry as an alternative to being stuck, energy returns, hope abounds and the prospect of being free to serve is exhilarating. There are other benefits. Their spouse senses the change and a renewed commitment to a lifetime together emerges. Their children sense it too. They are motivated by parents enthused about God and living to serve Him for a lifetime without overdue concern about money.

We are built to dream and to serve. The “how’s” of preparing for that time of Future Funded Ministry are readily available if we search for them. There are some of us called to provide that “how.” In addition, we all can encourage someone to grow and understand the exhilarating future that God has planned for each of us. In order for us to experience that exhilarating future, we simply need to respond thoughtfully, carefully and persistently. We can choose the pathway to a ministry filled future; or not!

Abraham Lincoln grew in his role as President. His insights, vision, perspective and growing conviction led us as a country to a new and better place. Even with a vision, change is hard! The 1,500,000 Americans who died fighting in the Civil War are evidence of this. When we find ourselves in a bad spot, one that is not God honoring or forward looking, be encouraged that each of us can grow in understanding and wisdom. The results of that growth in understanding can change us and we can change the world.

We have access to the Father, through the Son and with the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Even during times of real sorrow, there exists the prospect, the hope, of a joyful tomorrow. He promises us that!

Our Journey continues. Let me know your reaction and encouraging stories of growth in understanding. Our dialogue continues.

Living with Trusted Advice together

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