Great Wisdom Never Goes Out of Style

by: Rev. Ed Schneider

Have you ever noticed that every so often a phrase uttered by someone can make you stop and think about the great implications of its contents? The other day I was preparing for a speaking engagement when I was reviewing some quotes of interest with the intention to hopefully provide myself with a few fresh insights concerning what I was being asked to talk about. The subject of my presentation was “Great Wisdom and How We Waste It.” So, quite naturally I went in search of some notable wisdom that might prompt my audience to wonder whether or not its transcendent genius is being followed or not.

All of us know old useful adages or ridiculous sayings our parents or grandparents have told us. Great “wisdom” like “a penny saved is a penny earned.” I can remember my aunt telling my cousins, who were well known for not caring very much about their personal appearance, “Don’t forget to change your underwear every day because you never know when you might get into an accident and have to go to the hospital.” The one that still rings in my ears is from my grandmother who on a number of occasions tried to prompt me to eat better by invoking the universal plea to my sense of guilt by telling me the following tried-and-true piece of classic wisdom: “Finish your vegetables, people in Africa are starving.”

There are other interesting quotes I thought might be of some use to the readers of this collection of writings. These marvelously thoughtful sayings come from a variety of sources but all have within their content the ability to make us ponder the deeper meaning behind what may have prompted their authors to proclaim them in the first place. As you read through each of these nuggets of wisdom you might want to ask yourself, “Does this saying still have value today and, if so, why?” You may also want to consider how one or more of these thoughtfully produced commentaries on the human condition could be shared in the coming weeks with people you know.

Take the following listing of wisdom and truth to your Sunday school class, Bible study, book club or Monday morning coffee gathering and ask others for their thoughts concerning what these words are trying to convey. Ask your group which one of these quotes means the most to them, and why it should be shared with others. Well, here we go. These are in no particular order and I trust that they can speak for themselves.

On the subject of faith:

“God does not expect us to submit our faith to Him without reason, but the very limits of reason make faith necessary.” — Augustine of Hippo

“Faith and sight are set in opposition to each other in Scripture, but not faith and reason. True faith is essentially reasonable because it trusts in the character and the promises of God. A believing Christian is one whose mind reflects and rests on these certitudes.” — John Stott

“True and abiding faith, the kind of faith that God prompts us to experience and display, only begins when reason is completely exhausted. However, using faith as an emotional crutch to avoid the reasoning process is just plain lazy!” — Ed Schneider

    On the subject of Maturity:

“The farther a man knows himself to be from perfection, the nearer he is to it.” — Gerard Groote

    On the subject of Passionate preaching:

“A prepared messenger is more important than a prepared message.” — Robert Munger

“A preacher is one who leads men from what they want to what they need.” — Ralph Sockman

“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of God upon the Earth.” — John Wesley

  On the subject of attending church without conviction of Christ:

“Sending a man to church no more makes him a Christian than sending a man to a stable makes him a horse.” — Billy Sunday

“Most people spend the first six days of each week sowing wild oats, then go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.” — Fred Allen

“Each Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit, a person in whom Christ actually dwells. But how often we sit next to believers, eat with them, sing with them, yet fail to see we’ve been in the presence of Christ Himself.” — John Ross

“Church has never been and will never be the ‘right thing’ to do. It has always been and will continue to be the Christ thing to do.” — Ed Schneider

    On the subject of not going to church:

“If a hypocrite stands between you and God, then the hypocrite is still closer than you are.” — Zig Ziglar

    On the subject of lazy church members:

“Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on man.” — Francis Spellman

“God doesn’t make orange juice; God makes oranges.” — Jesse Jackson

“Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.” — Benjamin Franklin

    On the subject of evaluating a person’s life:

“What you possess in the world will be found at the day of your death to belong to another, but what you are will be yours forever.” — Henry Van Dyke

    On the subject of atheism:

“Whoever it was who searched the Heavens with a telescope and found no God would not have found the human mind if he would have searched the brain with a microscope.” — George Santayana

    “Both Christian and atheist have one essential thing in common. They are both remarkable people of faith. One has faith there is a creating and intelligent force that has in some way initiated both the known and the unknown, and the other has faith that the God thing, however one is able to understand and describe it, is a bunch of nonsense.” — Ed Schneider


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