Some Smart Sayings
Quotes that made me think this week
I love good quotes, and too often I lose track of them. I came across a few this week that were pretty good, and I’ll share them with you–that way I won’t lose them, and you can have them, too!
“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China… I don’t know who it was… It must have been a man… a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing… and God looked down… and saw Gladys Aylward… And God said – ‘Well, she’s willing.'” ~Gladys Aylward
I don’t know if you know the story of Gladys Aylward, who was a young, uneducated girl from Great Britain who worked as a housemaid, was told she couldn’t be a missionary to China, but spent her life savings and went anyway–having to walk from Siberia the final leg of her journey. She did amazing work and her story has been told in books and a Hollywood movie (that so glamorized her that she was mortified), but she never lost her humility. In that humble mind-set, she tackled incredible odds in very difficult circumstances and brought many to Christ.
I read this quote and thought about its clear theological error–she certainly was God’s choice for his work, even over a “well-educated man.” Paul tells us God chooses the “foolish things” to confound the wise. But I love her humility, and her understanding of the priority of surrender and willingness. Are you willing to be used, even if you don’t have what the world may tell you it takes?
“Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.”~Josh McDowell
McDowell was being quoted by someone else when I heard this, in the context of authoritarian parenting. The speaker was saying parents must manage the task of being an authority in their children’s lives (“children, obey your parents in the Lord…”) without resorting to an “authoritarian” approach (“I said so, that’s why”). That is a tough balance to strike isn’t it? That is, until we see how God does it with us. Now, of course he gives lots of commands and doesn’t always give reasons. But because he has revealed himself so fully, we know his heart is for us, his love is given to us, his nature is totally good, and we have a relationship with him. When we give our kids rules, but do nothing to build relational capital (they know we have their best interests at heart, that we love them, and that we believe in what God is doing in them), they will rebel. It may be outward or inward, and I think the second kind is harder to handle.
“In one sense, this injunction [Philippians 4:4] is so self-evidently right that it is embarrassing that we should have to be reminded of it. Surely all redeemed men and women will want to rejoice in the Lord. Our sins have been forgiven! We have been declared righteous because another has borne our guilt. We have received the gift of the Spirit, the down payment of the promised inheritance that will be ours when Jesus comes again. We are children of the living God. Our ‘threescore years and ten’ may be fraught with difficulty, but eternity awaits us, secured by the Son of God. We shall see Christ face to face and spend an eternity in the purest worship and in consummated holiness. If we fail to respond with joy and gratitude when we are reminded of these things, it is either because we have not properly grasped the depth of the abyss of our own sinful natures and of the curse from which we have been freed by Jesus or because we have not adequately surveyed the splendor of the heights to which we have been raised.”~D. A. Carson, in Basics for Believers: an Exposition of Philippians (p. 104). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996.
I shared this on Facebook earlier this week, and I share it again here because I can’t seem to escape it, especially the last part. How is it that I can, so often, read of, hear about, or even contemplate the blessings of salvation and not be overwhelmed with joy? Am I still so oblivious to the depths of my own sin and the judgment it deserves, or do I fail to grasp the wonders of what God has in store for me? Either way, I surely need God to work in my heart to cure this joy-killer!
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”~C. S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
I saw this again this week, and include it simply because every time I see it I am reminded to ask God to deepen my desires for things that bring true and lasting delight, rather than the shallow pleasures (not always bad, but destructive when made ultimate) of this life.
Do you have a favorite quote, new or old? Share it with me if you like!