FOOLISHNESS OF MAN'S WISDOMMensa is an organization whose members have an IQ of 140 or higher. A few years ago, there was a Mensa convention in San Francisco, and several members lunched at a local cafe. While dining, they discovered that their saltshaker contained pepper and their peppershaker was full of salt. How could they swap the contents of the bottles without spilling, and using only the implements at hand? Clearly this was a job for Mensa! The group debated and presented ideas, and finally came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw, and an empty saucer. They called the waitress over to dazzle her with their solution.

“Ma’am”, they said, “we couldn’t help but notice that the peppershaker contains salt and the saltshaker….”

“Oh”, the waitress interrupted, “Sorry about that”. She unscrewed the caps of both bottles and switched them.

We live in a world, like the Greek culture of the first century, which prides itself on being “wise”. We have achieved so much in the area of technology. We’ve set up a space station that orbits the earth. We’ve visited the moon. We’ve taken close-up pictures of Mars. We feel confident that we are able to figure out the answer to almost every problem that is presented to us if we work on it long enough. And yet, like the Greek culture of the first century, our own culture which takes such pride in its own wisdom – seems unable to understand that which is truly wise. Solving the great problem of mankind doesn’t involve eliminating poverty, preventing global warning, or even making world peace possible.


Window of Opportunity“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

There needs to be a healthy sense of urgency in our lives. With regard to that which the Lord wants us to do in His work individually, there is not an unlimited amount of time in which to do that work. Each of us has a window of opportunity, and after that is gone, we will give account for our stewardship of the time given us. We urgently need to “redeem the time”, as Paul put it.

Granted, there is such a thing as an unhealthy urgency. Most of us are familiar with what that’s like. It’s the driven, compulsive, frantic mentality of competitors in the rat race. But that is not the way to redeem the time. In fact, nothing is more unproductive.

Jesus showed that it is possible to be very busy and not fall into the driven way of thinking. At our busiest, few of us will match the Lord’s activity, yet in the act of being busy, Jesus always had a calm, deliberate way about Him. He knew how to hasten leisurely, to work steadily, and even urgently, without losing the peace that was at the center of His being. Jesus knew that He had a schedule to meet, and He met it. At the end, He could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30). As His disciples, we need to redeem the time and be able, one day, to say that we have finished our work.

I received an email from Ken Craig, a great friend who does full-time secular work but also manages to do as much work in the Lord as anybody I know. I had mentioned being busy (forgetting to whom I was talking), and he wrote back, “I am in Shanghai, China right now on business, with meetings all day and three-hour Chinese dinners every evening. I had a glorious trip to India in April and had just recovered from that… I should be back on Sunday… Keep on keeping on. We will rest on the other side.” Ken is not about to miss the window of opportunity that the Lord has given him.

Gerry Sandusky, another great friend, says, “Heaven is pictured as a place of rest, and I intend to be tired when I get there”. Now is the time for work, a time to spend and be spent. There’ll be time enough for rest later.

Gary Henry


What Sort of Sorting Do You Do?

What Sort of Sorting Do You Do?Sorting things out is a fact of life. It’s the means by which we determine value, put things in their proper order, give meaning to our priorities. The person who makes good choices, based on his ability to sort things out, is considered to be wise. The person who sorts things out based on his own instincts is not wise, and in the end will reap poor results (Galatians 6:7-8). Good choices are based on good sound, spiritual reasoning.

Man’s inherent ability to choose–to sort out, to compare, decide, determine–is what differentiates him from all the rest of creation. Man alone is fitted to choose of his own will. Dogs operate on an assigned frequency, so do birds and bees, rocks and rills. They have no choice. But people do. They are designed for choosing. Man operates in a purely autonomous realm. He is free from the restraints of necessity. He has control of himself. As we said, he can meditate, weigh, compare, and then decide on a course of action. Having made his choice, he may then decide when and how he will accomplish what he has decided. It should be carefully noted, however, that man is responsible for the choices he makes. God will hold him accountable for his choices.

Good choices are the result of careful comparisons, properly sorting things out. Man has been given what he needs to make good decisions (2 Timothy 3:16-17). A good Christian can and must make good choices. For instance, he must compare himself to that divine directive and, if he sees any deficiency or any required course of action, he must then take whatever steps that are necessary to keep himself going in the right way. And it is a continuing process. After having been baptized into Christ, the saved person must then bring his inclinations and affections into a spiritually-based life of love and service (Colossians 3:1-5).

And how foolish for a person to decide to sort out his own values without the help of the divine directive. It’s like going somewhere when you have no map to guide you. Without divine direction, we don’t know which way to go or which way to turn. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 10:12, warns us about such a course. “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some, who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” Fact is, when you’re the standard yourself, and you want to do something that’s not part of the standard, all you have to do is change the standard so that it fits the choice. How foolish!