LENTEN DEVOTION for Monday, March 26

 
     


CENTER

Open the eyes of my heart this day that I may be filled with wonder.

   


CONSIDER   

 
One day Abba Arsenius consulted an old Egyptian monk about his own thoughts. Someone noticed this and said to him, "Abba Arsenius, how is it that you, with such a good Latin and Greek education, ask this peasant about your thoughts?" He replied, "I have indeed been taught Latin and Greek, but I do not know even the alphabet of this peasant."

Paul said, "Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor. 1:20) 
 
   

 
REFLECT 


I thought that intelligence increased by grade and degree. With every grade level, every diploma and degree program, there came more wisdom-so I assumed. In my sophomore year of college, I was steeped in a world that taught such things. My small college was set in a Midwestern city plagued with unemployment and homelessness. But in the center of the city was the university, where students acquired wisdom and knowledge to make for a better world.

I had a mentor at the time who thought this whole idea was foolish. He invited me to a homeless shelter a mile from the university to eat dinner. There I stood through a line, got a ham and bean dinner and sat across people who were suffering poverty and homelessness. This is where my real education started. I thought practical knowledge was the product of study. I learned there that many things can only be learned through hardship. I had always assumed that my success was dependent on diligent work. I learned otherwise from people who worked hard and got nowhere. I thought that if you live right you will prosper. I learned otherwise from righteous people in poverty. I had learned Latin and sophisticated English, but I did not know the ordinary language that most often conveys wisdom.

The Apostle Paul says that what often counts for wisdom and knowledge is neither. We are in awe of people who have terminal degrees, secured honorable teaching posts and who are recipients of prestigious awards. We are rarely in awe of those who have neither position nor prestige but who can teach us not theories and concepts, but wisdom and truth. Abba Arsenius encourages us to look everywhere for knowledge and wisdom, knowing that the most precious of these is often found in the least acknowledged.
 
 

 
PRAY

Open my mind and heart to receive your teaching wherever it may be heard. Amen. 
 

 
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