“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.
Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
Matthew 10:16 (NIV)
The past few months have been marked by a lot of learning and wrestling. I've found myself in seminary classes about global Church history and theology in film. I've been reading and wrestling through a book called The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman- a tour of the Western thought leaders of the last two centuries (people such as Wordsworth, Shelley, Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, Reich, and more), and how they exercise extraordinary and unseen influence upon the way people think now. I've found myself in some strange ministry situations that have pushed me to be more perceptive and shrewd. In short, I've been pushed by continued education and by life experiences to be as shrewd as a snake.
Recently, I've felt a counter-push by God to be as "innocent as a dove." While Jesus was a keen observer of people who "knew what was in each person" (as John 2 tells us), and Paul was well-versed in the philosophies of his day, they both pushed those who followed Christ into what in many ways was a simple faith. Jesus' call to his disciples was simple: "Follow me." Jesus said the Law and Prophets could be summed up in sister commands to love God with all of one's heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others as oneself (which He later upgraded to loving others as He loved his disciples). Paul told the believers in Corinth that he was "Afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Cor. 11:3) While we must not be as wise and shrewd as the serpent, shrewdness cannot teach love.
Which side of this two-headed command from Jesus is harder for you? Do you avoid the shrewdness of the world, leaning towards naïveté in the pursuit of a simple faith? Or do you fail to find intimacy with God because you prefer concepts and control to the risk of relationship? I've found myself in both of these pitfalls at different times.
After a couple of off years due to COVID, we've gotten to revive an annual celebration of the Resurrection called Rez Fair, in which a bunch of Christian organizations from UTD (and a couple of churches from the area) come together to celebrate Jesus and share the hope he gives us with our campus.
- Please pray for our students as they enter a tough season of finals. It can be easy to get pulled under from the stress of it (especially for certain majors).
- Please pray for our students as they prepare for the Student Institute of Campus Ministry- a week-long college ministry training conference in Washington state.
- Please pray for our students as they finish up the semester and enter the summer- that this would be a time of spiritual growth and not one of regression, as many breaks can be.