"Get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." – Proverbs 4:5
Recently I saw a movie called Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. There’s a modern remake, but I saw the 1936 version with Gary Cooper. Really good movie. I love romances, and this one was both humorous and insightful into human nature.
Anyway, at one point Gary Cooper, playing Longfellow Deeds, gets to see Grant’s Tomb for the first time in his life. The worldly-wise female reporter, who obviously was going to become the other half of the romance, says, “Well, there it is.” She clearly expects him to be disappointed, and she comments that most people are.
He then says, "Do you know what I see? I see an Ohio country boy who grows up to be a general in the United States Army. I see Lee surrendering to that Ohio boy. I see him standing and taking the oath to be president of the United States. That could only happen in a country as great as ours."
It really wasn’t that moving of a scene, but it distinctly highlighted the difference that attitude can make.
I know people that are excited all the time about the Word of God. They are excited when they read the Bible. They are excited when they hear preaching and teaching. They are excited when people speak into their lives.
What’s even more amazing is that these people can listen to some pretty boring and occasionally rather shallow teaching and still be excited.
Why? Because the Word of God is the Word of God. It is the very life of a disciple. Thus, they happily sit through an hour of chopping rock to get one precious gem. (That’s supposed to be a mining analogy, which I point out just in case poor writing or my poor understanding of mining makes the analogy unclear.)
But how many of us struggle to find some time to read the Scriptures. How many of us sit through good or very good teaching, loaded with precious gems, yet complain because 50% of the teaching time was like chopping rock. Or worse, we complain if even 10% of the teaching time was a little slow.
We’re lazy people. We want the riches of God handed to us. We can find a YouTube video of some spectacular teacher, who never lets one minute of his sermon get boring. Why should we labor our way through the disorderly words of some lover of God who has to struggle to get his point across to us.
When Longfellow Deeds saw Grant’s Tomb, he didn’t see an unimpressive building. He saw an idea. He saw the sweat and labor of pioneers and soldiers.
It’s the exact same kind of thinking that makes the difference between a disciple, who is granted access to the treasures of God, and a member of an audience, who is happily entertained but for the most part granted access only to “strong delusion,” following the many in blissful ignorance of what Jesus said about what road the many travel on.