Does the American church today show its glorious wisdom at the front door, in the portal of the church? Are martyrs, bloody swords, and suffering servants of God our Sunday morning greeters? Hardly.
Rather, oftentimes we are greeted by Goliath-sized TV monitors, touch screen lobby digital directories, and “Information Centers”. Technology is a gift from God, but technology be damned if it veils any of the central truths of the Christian life; particularly, the cost of discipleship.
“In the Middle Ages, the church showed its glorious wisdom by placing statues of the martyrs at the front door, in the portal of the church. Thus the faithful were welcomed into the church with scenes of decapitation, bloody swords, and suffering servants of God. The church, up front, at the first, portrayed the cost of discipleship.”
Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life by William H. Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas
A thought regarding Proverbs 2:1: “My son, if thou wilt receive my words…”
Words are important, especially from a father to a son. With words a father can encourage his son to heed the father’s words, as we see Solomon doing when he urges his son to hear his instruction, as well as not forsaking the law of his mother (Pro 1:8). A good father will speak to his son, giving him instruction and steering him towards wisdom. Speaking, however, is tricky. Words easily fall to the ground.
A wise son will not let the words of his father fall. He will receive them, accepting them as a gift. Sound counsel, the wise words of a loving father, these can be given to sons as gifts. And we should be intentional about giving these gifts to our sons.
A grateful son will receive the words of his father. The son will take the father at his word (A son will learn how to do this because he has seen his father take the Lord at His word). Wise counsel, the words given as gifts from a father to a son, will provide rest for the son. And sons need rest to avoid becoming exasperated (Col 3:21).
What this does not mean is that fathers can simply communicate with words alone. They are required to act. For instance, men are told “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly” (Mic 6:8). However, a spoken word functions somewhat differently than an action, and Solomon’s highlights this by denoting the importance of a son’s reception of his father’s words.