I recently finished Everett Worthington’s book, Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling (1999, IVP Academic). He describes a beautiful approach to helping couples in crisis marriage counseling. It’s a long book – and tedious… but very helpful – and one thing jumped out at me right at the end.
He described a scene where he was jogging, as he often did, in his neighborhood. A lady he didn’t know, who was running toward him, suddenly turned around and started jogging with him. She explained that she had a bladder problem while running and asked if he had ever heard of it before. He said “No,” and picked up the pace a little (but she was determined to keep up). She then explained that this disease has caused much conflict in her marriage; she and her husband were at an all-time low. So Dr. Everett Worthington (Ph.D.) – a licensed clinical psychologist and recurrently published author on marriage research and counseling – took some time while jogging to give her some tips for her marriage and lift her confidence in Christ Jesus.
He was astounded that she would just turn and start talking about her runner’s bladder problem with a perfect stranger. When he got home, he realized that she must have seen his hat, which had the logo for a local marathon on it. Dr. Worthington had never run a marathon. In fact, his wife bought that hat for him at a garage sell for 50 cents – and for some reason, he decided to wear it that day instead of any of the other 9 or 10 hats he had in his closet.
At the conclusion of the book (and at the end of this story), Dr. Worthington penned these words:
Now these words should bring joy and reverence at the same time to every Christian counselor’s heart. But I believe, more than that, they should challenge every believer in a powerful way.
There are a few things we need to look at here:
First of all, knowledge itself belongs to God. A favorite saying of mine is “There is no truth which is truth that is not God’s truth.” God has the copyrights to truth. It does not exist outside of Him, and in Him is all the knowledge and truth that is. So before we claim special insight or unique knowledge surrounding any given subject or phenomenon, it is of utmost importance that we recognize Whose knowledge it is…
Colossians 2:3 – “In Him [(Christ)] all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.”
Secondly, the truth and insight that God gives are not to be kept in secret – they are to be shared with all who will hear whether convenient or not, in season or out of season (2 Timothy 3:15-4:2). If God has given you insight into scripture, or into psycotherapy, or into human functionality or biochemistry, USE IT FOR HIS GLORY! It’s not yours anyway – it belongs to Him.
Here’s the purpose of this blog:
I believe that most of us sit around waiting for some miraculous encounter with someone to slap us in the forehead and say, “Hey! Here I am! Tell me something about Jesus!” When in reality, God is providentially orchestrating events, times, and even the clothes you wear so that you might share His truth with someone you come into contact with. Open your eyes, Christian. You encounter hundreds of people every day who don’t know Jesus. What do you do with all of that knowledge and “truth” that God has implanted (James 1:21) inside of you? And what’s at the top of your priority list? Jogging a better mile, or imparting Godly truth into someone’s life?
All of your education – all of your knowledge – all of your wisdom – all of your history – all of your possessions – all of your time – ALL OF IT belongs to the Lord. He has entrusted it to you, and He wants to use you to get it out into the rest of the world. I’m a counselor/minister. I come into contact with people every day who God places in my path because He knows they need a counselor/minister to reach out to them. What are you? A teacher? An electrician? A scientist? A homemaker? An engineer? Who does God put in your path daily that would be more likely to receive Godly truth from you than from me?
One last scripture: One that you all know very well – Matthew 28:19-20 (The Great Commission). A typical, historical translation of this verse is “Go, therefore, into all the world…” However, when we look at the Greek New Testament, the form of the verb “Go” (porenthentes) is very interesting. It is an aorist participle in the deponent voice. You probably know what a participle means, right? In English, participles have the ending “-ing.” Saying, believing, teaching, doing, walking, singing – those are all English present tense participles. However, the aorist tense is a Greek tense describing an undefined action that has taken place in the past. Hence, with only this information, translation would be “Having gone,” not “Go.”
But this word, “porenthentes,” also has a deponent ending. A deponent verb is one that is passive in its form, but active in meaning. Thus, with the tense, voice, and participial nature of this verb, its translation should be something more like, “As you have already gone and are currently going into all the world…”
All of that jibber-jabber to say this: The “Great Commission” as it is called, is a command to make disciples AS WE ARE GOING. This task is NOT reserved for mission trips or invitations on Sunday mornings. God has gifted you uniquely, implanted His divine Word into your very being, and providentially orchestrated events that make possible the encounters with people who need to hear what you have to say. As you go through life, regurgitate that knowledge and truth to impact His kingdom for His glory. After all, it doesn’t belong to you anyway…
Grace and Peace,