S191P8 – Ecclesiastical truths: growth will challenge us

Ecc. 7:5-6

It is better to listen to the rebuke of the wise man and pursue wisdom than for one to listen to the song of fools and pursue stupidity.  For like the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool; and this too is vanity.

Her idea of community was strictly self-serving.  She was used to being in charge and being the center of attention.  In selecting those with whom she would surround herself, she did not desire to be challenged or taught.  She sought out those who would stroke her ego and hang on her every word.  She considered herself the authority on everything she knew, especially matters of social import.  What she did not realize was that this kind of interaction with people does not bring growth.  Personal evolution and strengthening happens when we incur the stress of abrasion and challenge, and it takes a teachable spirit to grow as a person.  Otherwise, we remain stunted and under the delusion that we have made it as far as we need.

Many people will walk this world in search of those who will worship them.  They want to look down on others instead of looking up to others.  They relish being adored and admired even if those admirers are not particularly discerning or wise.  This kind of attitude is really a statement that a person believes he or she has grown and changed as much as necessary.  That is a person who thinks there remain no other intellectual, spiritual, or personal aspirations to pursue.  It is the attitude of one who believes he or she has reached all heights and simply cannot improve.  It is the attitude of a proud heart that does nothing but keep the individual back from all the possibilities God has made available.  

Critical to serving God is the posture of knowing that there is more to learn.  Although we are not to settle into our human imperfection, we certainly are to accept the reality of that truth and what it means.  It means that there is much work to be done in each and every one of us no matter how transformed we have been in Christ.  It can be uncomfortable for others to point out how flawed and incomplete we are by sharing wisdom with us that shows our foolishness or immaturity, but we need to become comfortable with this.  We need to treasure the wise rebuke that serves to increase our own wisdom.  Likewise, we need to shun the praise of fools that only brings unholy pride.  Father, help us embrace the wise teachings that show us how far we have yet to go and to seek growth no matter how uncomfortable it might make us.