Learning and rules, one cup at a time


    By Jeff Smith
    Special to The PREVIEW

    My change in jobs has caused major changes in our living. So, it was time to go through some of our stuff and give or throw things away.

    Now that we are settled, sort of, I’m back into my morning routine of having coffee and wisdom before I start what I have to do next.

    The books of wisdom in the Bible are seldom talked about in the church circles I attend. We like the stories of David and Goliath, and Jesus feeding five thousand with some bread. We like the idea that God will take care of us and these are true things.

    Wisdom though, sounds “out there.”

    One of the reasons for this is that it is scripture’s way of telling us how to manage our lives; how to use well what little we have. I think it is at that point we lose some folks.

    I’m in the book of Proverbs, in the Bible, chapter six, learning about the wisdom of Solomon. The subjects of today’s verses are rules, teaching and being reproved. A reproof is when someone tells you you are wrong.

    “My son, keep the rule of your father, and have in memory the teaching of your mother:

    “Keep them ever folded in your heart, and have them hanging round your neck. In your walking, it will be your guide; when you are sleeping, it will keep watch over you; when you are awake, it will have talk with you. For the rule is a light, and the teaching a shining light; and the guiding words (or reproofs) of training are the way of life.” Proverbs 6:20-23

    Good rules and good advice are basic, simple things. They are things that an adult can explain and a child can understand. They keep teaching after the teacher goes to bed and when we grow up we find they are still true.

    One of those rules has to be when Jesus said, “Give and it shall be given to you.” (Luke 6:38) When you decide what to do with extra stuff, it is good to know this. The faint pleasure you have in keeping it, may be offset by a greater joy in being generous. You don’t have to see the the loss of your stuff as losing in life. It comes back to you in other ways. Jesus said so.

    Thomas Szasz said this about learning: “Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.”

    Solomon describes rules and and being taught, not as walls, but as lights. They don’t stop you. They guide you. Good rules set you free, even if it means learning that you were wrong on some things. Those of us who already know enough and who dislike rules in general should learn this. It’s a good way to live.

    My blog: www.want2Bwise.blogspot.com


    Send your comments and faith articles to betty@bettyslade.com (500 to 800 words).