FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
I'm sure that I've mentioned this before but, in case some of you aren't aware of it, I'm a lover of quotations. As such, a lot of the quotations I read serve to inspire me towards a spiritual lesson. Today I'm going to look at a few of them and lay them alongside a Bible passage that fits the thought of the quote. But, I think that I'll do it a little different and reverse the order. I'll give you the passage first and then the quote.
Here's our first passage: "....a time to keep silence and a time to speak." (Eccl. 3:7).
Now, before we look at the quote, let me tell you a little story. It's about a little boy who was away from his house for awhile and when he returned home his mother asked him, "Where have you been?" Well, their next door neighbor was an elderly man whose wife had recently passed away and the boy replied to her, "I was visiting next door with Mr. Jones." She asked her son, "What did you talk about?" The little boy simply told her, "Nothing, I just sat and helped him cry."
Now the quotation and it's author was the Greek philosopher Socrates. He said: "There are two sciences which every man ought to learn. First, the science of speech; second, the more difficult one of silence."
Let me just add my own thought here and say that "silence" isn't always better than speech, but on many occasions it is. In the way of proving my thought let me just ask you how many times have you wished that you'd have kept your mouth shut and just listened. More times than one I'll wager.
Ok, here's our next scripture reading: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17)
Frequently we hear something about the First Amendment to the Constitution which deals with the separation of church and state. And, more often than not, we see it brought up because of a law suit regarding a supposed violation of it. There's a lot that could be written about this subject, but today I'm going to be brief in commenting on it.
The main problem as I see it is this: I believe that "Caesar" has intruded far more into the "things that are God's" than the other way around. And that opinion brings us to the quote fitting this passage. Former President Reagan once was speaking on the subject of people becoming afraid of violating the First Amendment.
He said: "The First Amendment was not written to protect people and their laws from religious values; it was written to protect those values from Government tyranny."
Next scripture reading: "All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV)
I believe that what that passage shows us is, that the answer to every situation we encounter in our lives, whether good or bad and for all the things which we experience, but more importantly, the key to real and lasting peace for the soul is found in the Word of God - the Bible. Or, as many times referred to as The Scriptures.
Again I turn to President Reagan for our comparative quote and here's what he thought about it. In regards to The Bible, he said: "Within the covers of that single book are all the answers to all the problems that face us today if we'd only read it and believe."
Our next Bible passage was spoken by Moses at a time when the Israelites were behaving themselves in a most corrupt manner, aided and abetted by Moses' own brother, Aaron. They were behaving so badly that God threatened to destroy everyone of them and start over by making a nation of Moses' descendants. But, Moses, on behalf of the people, entreated God to spare them and He did.
It was right after this that Moses made a speech to the people. He started his speech by asking them a question. He asked them, "Who is on the Lord's side?" (Ex. 32:26) There's the implication there that a choice would have to be made as to where their allegiance lay. There's another implication of a choice having to be made in something Christ said while dealing with the Pharisees and their accusations. In Matt. 12:30 He said, "He that is not with me is against me..."
We're going to look at our quote now, but first I just want to mention that we should use caution in making this choice. I'm speaking in the sense of being prudent because choosing the wrong side will be eternally disastrous. Now the quote and again I turn to President Reagan. He said: "We must be cautious in claiming God is on our side. I think the real question is, are we on His side?"
That wraps up our spiritual thoughts for today, but I'd like to add a closing comment of my own. It just seems to me, when I look at what our national leaders do and hear the things they speak, it pains me to note how uncivil and untruthful they've become. Perhaps it's just the memory of a senior citizen, but I remember, not only our government officials, but society as a whole, being far more considerate of manners, truthfulness and piousness towards God than what we have now.
I once had the honor of spending some time close to President Reagan and I can attest to his conduct matching his words. He truly was a great person and that fact was easily recognizable. I just wish that we had leaders of his stature with us today.