Who do you think talks to you the most? Your teacher? Your parents? Your annoying brother or sister who won’t be quiet? I think the answer may surprise you. The person who talks to you the most is you. No one talks to yourself more than you do. It is helpful if you keep the conversation in your head and not talk to yourself out loud because people may think you’re a bit weird. God created you and me to try to make sense out of life. We are constantly trying to figure out what in the world is going on and we do that by talking to ourselves.
Last week we talked about how every thought, every word, and every deed is moving us in a direction. We are going somewhere. In Psalm 1, David says you will be blessed if you don’t go the way of the ungodly, the sinner, and the scornful. It starts with going for a walk, standing, and eventually sitting. It never happens all at once.
As “there are no small things” we are told to “work heartily, as for the Lord” (Col. 3:23), something as simple as making your bed can do wonders for your happiness and health, and carefulness is a virtue, according to Aristotle, then paying attention to details and concentrating on bettering seemingly unimportant small skills is important for the overall well-being, success, and fulfillment of a student. Thus, the insistence when a teacher makes you put your heading in the correct corner with each piece of information, or makes you use graph paper for math, or makes you re-do an answer that she cannot read—are all examples of an effort to help a student realize the importance of being careful with details.
The sermon uses the metaphor of games for resource allocation and human cooperation to help understand the story of the creation of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis 2. Students were challenged to ask themselves about the goals of the various games they play in life (family, school, religious, etc) and whether or not the strategies they employ will lead them to desirable outcomes. The standard is God’s claim that the world is a better place with humanity than without it (Genesis 1:26-31). Are you handling your life in a way that allows you to assess it the way God originally assessed man’s presence in his creation?
I am going to let you all in on a parenting secret. The night before Christmas or a big birthday is not always all joy and happiness. It can be extremely stressful. In fact, the weeks leading up to a big celebration are very tense. For example, trying to get the perfect Christmas gift has meant fighting large crowds and driving all over the place to go to the right store that has the right gift. Or it has meant spending hours and hours on the internet searching for something that you end up overpaying for shipping and handling to make sure it gets here on time. When that big day arrives, we as parents are all thinking, it will be worth it to see the smile on our child’s face and as they throw themselves at our feet and wrap their arms around our knees and gush forth in humble gratitude. However, especially when a child is young, they open the gift and…meh. We rush down there and show them how it works and all the noises and buttons. The child begins to play with it and we run around the room giving ourselves high fives. But when we look over again, they are eating the wrapping paper and playing with the box it came in while the toy is lying by itself on the floor.
In Genesis, we see that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Part of what this means can be found in the way God creates. He first creates a formless mass of chaos (Genesis 1:2) and then progressively organizes the world after a fashion that makes it amenable to human beings and their experience of God’s presence. This is capitulated in the story of Eden (Genesis 2:7-15), where God creates a space for man to meet with God that is the ideal composition between chaos and order. If we see God’s creative work as a symbol of what it means to be a human being in God’s image, we can see that man is the being that negotiates between chaos and order on the earth. We do this by finding ways to cultivate nature in a way that brings something new out of it that was not there before without eliminating its potential entirely. A good example might be a garden in which there are no insects. Without bugs, the garden will produce no fruit. It is too orderly. But in a field without cultivation there may or may not be food fit for humans depending upon weather and animal activity. In connection with John 1:1-18 and Colossians 1:15-20, we can see that
I wasn’t born in Nebraska. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot when I was young but we finally settled in Nebraska and I consider it home. I started attending a public school until my dad made the decision to quit his job and become a Christian school teacher. I joined the school a year later as a student. The school was not like Annapolis but I appreciated being taught in a Christian environment. I participated in junior high band and enjoyed choir. I acted in One Act and in one of the school plays, Anne of Green Gables. I was in the pivotal role as “farmhand #2”. I also played sports. The sport I excelled in the most was volleyball. My dad was the assistant girls’ volleyball coach and he was my ride home so, out of boredom, I began playing volleyball. After high school, I went to a Christian college where I played college volleyball and got a teaching degree. My first teaching job after graduation was back in Nebraska, where I spent the last 20 years in education.
As we end the school year with our final chapel today, I want to take the time to share from my heart what my prayers and wishes will be for each of you as I retire this summer. I am stepping down after being involved in various roles at the school for over 20 years—the last 6 as principal. It seems only fitting that I take this last opportunity to speak to you in my final chapel talk today and address you as a student body and as individuals who I have come to know and love.
This semester we have been studying intellectual character. Today we want to review all we have talked about. Continue reading
In our Easter chapel service, we talked about how Jesus Christ is the perfect example of intellectual character and virtue. We have been talking about the following intellectual character traits all semester:
- Intellectual courage, which helps you to find the truth and live out that truth.
- Intellectual honesty is how we use the truth we know. It is the link that goes from our thinking to our actions.
- Intellectual tenacity is the character of being very determined and persistent in seeking truth and knowledge.
- Intellectual carefulness involves being patient, diligent, and careful in the search for truth and knowledge.
- Intellectual humility is seen in those who want to know the truth, and therefore constantly recognize that they, like all people, are sinful and capable of error.
As we continue to talk about humility, let’s look at Proverbs 11:2 which says: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Continue reading