Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pragmatism is Impractical

     On its surface, Eccl. 5:1-7 looks like a pretty good way of life. It stresses not being rash or hasty, quietness, paying vows quickly, and not getting in over your head. However there is a subversive thread that runs through it which undermines God’s purposes. This thread says that one should not only try to stay on God’s good side, but stay under the radar as much as possible, to the point that one should just try to get by while doing as little as possible. It sounds very similar to the Chinese proverb which says the peg that stands out is the first one to get nailed down. We see right actions, but the wrong motivation.

      We see this same thing all the time in our culture, especially today. Today people are taught to just keep their head down, do what they’re told, and go on by. We should need to stop, look around, and question what’s going on, we are told. Just go to school, get a job, be normal, and be “content” with wherever you end up. Again, it sounds good to be content, but this is not godly contentment. It is forced contentment so that nothing bad or improper happens and you can live and easy life.

      None of this is Biblical. We are not called to be quiet, subservient cowards in life. This is a view that is often perpetrated even by our churches, often unknowingly. We are told that “Satan is a roaring lion,” without being told that we have the weapons and armor to slay that lion. We are told that we should be “content in all things,” without it being qualified that we should find our contentment in God while diving headfirst into His love, mercy, grace, and call to action. Risk-aversion in relation to God is not a virtue, it is a weakness. God calls us to dive into His love, to know Him, to put ourselves out there and show the world His people. Instead, we should realize that if we fail, we fail, and He will provide. It is a trust in God that says “I will go for it,” and we are remiss if we fail to see the great and awesome wonders He has in store for us when we go all in.

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