Monday, January 12, 2009

No Stupid Questions

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible. This is an account of my journey to become closer to God.

Now I’ve finished reading Exodus and I must say it was fun to recall all the tales I had heard in Vacation Bible School so many years ago about Adam & Eve, Abraham, Noah, Moses, the burning bush, the plagues, and more. I’ve always thought I didn’t know much about the Bible, and the truth is I probably don’t, but it was reassuring to find that so much of the first two books were familiar to me. I can recall thinking to myself a few times, “I know what’s coming,” with the same excitement as if I were reading a novel again that had been required reading back in high school.

Let me say again how delighted I am that a few cyber friends are reading this blog every day and taking the time to comment on my thoughts. It is reassuring to read kind words of encouragement from people who I’ve never met yet with whom I feel a connection. I guess that’s the power of the community of Christ. I invite the dialogue: please post comments, questions or your answers to my questions. Who knows, we may start a little Bible study community right here. If you prefer a more private form of correspondence, my email address is gregoryelang@gmail.com.

At this point in my readings I have to admit I’m somewhat perplexed by the passage in Matthew (6:1) that I underlined in my daily devotional Bible : “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.”

On first glance it seems to me to be a contradiction with John 3:21 : “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God," the very passage that inspired me in the first place to write my blog in this manner this year (if you’ve been reading me for a while you know it is a real departure). In my effort to understand this, I’m choosing to focus on the phrase in Matthew “to be seen by them”. I think it means do not do righteous things for the sake of applause and admiration of men, but instead do righteous things only by the motivation to honor and bring glory to God. If that is the case then there is no contradiction. If it is not the case, then, yes, I’m stumped. Anyone have insight to share?

As I admitted early on, I’m no Biblical scholar, but I am eager to be a devoted and hungry student of the Bible. Until I sort this question out, at least I’m comforted remembering something we’ve all heard before from a teacher we once admired: “There are no stupid questions.”

A follow-up note on “Worth Doing,” my thoughts posted on Friday. So far I’ve reached out to reconcile with two whom I’ve offended in the past (oh, there are others). One has graciously accepted my apology and request for forgiveness, and the second did as well, although with a dose of caution. I understand where it comes from and I can only hope that as time passes my conduct going forward from here will prove that caution will not be necessary. I think the burden is mine, though, and I will continue to do the work until reconciliation with this person can be had without his reservation.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

2 comments:

Ginny said...

Greg, you are right on point with this. First, there are "no stupid questions"! And secondly, you are correct in your understanding. Scriptures encourage us to do nothing for our own glory...to make ourselves look good...to impress others. It's a call to examine our motivation. We are, indeed, called to glorify Him.

Ginny said...

One more thing...I wanted to commend you for your efforts in reconciliation...that's not an easy thing to do...