Friday, July 10, 2009

Try thinking fewer original thoughts

All that is not eternal, is eternally out of date.
C.S. Lewis

On the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, Kevin DeYoung tells us why he remains important centuries later when so many who were famous in their day are unknown today. The lesson is the same for us all, however great or modest our ambition.
.... Strive for relevance in your day, and you may make a difference for a few years. Anchor yourself in what is eternal and you may influence the world for another five centuries.

I’m all for young people dreaming big dreams. Go out and change the world. Make a difference. Discover a cure for cancer. Write a best-selling novel. Become president. But remember, your “glory” (and mine) will not last. Your great accomplishments will fall away—either in your lifetime, or in a generation, or at the end of all things.

No one will care about your GPA and SAT scores in ten years. If you win a state championship, you’ll be forgotten the next year you don’t. Your beauty will get wrinkles and trim figure plump. Write a great book and it will gather dust in a library some day. Have a big famous church, it won’t last forever. Be an important person in your field, you still be unknown to over 6 billion people in the world. Build an amazing house, it will crumble some day, if it doesn’t go into foreclosure first. All of our achievements and successes are destined to be like dead grass and faded flowers.

But...the word of our God stands forever. The word about Babylon in Isaiah 40 stood firm. and so will his word in our generation. All God’s declarations about himself and his people are true. All his promises will come to pass. Our only confidence is in the word of God. John Calvin was a man, an imperfect, sinful man, but a man that God used enormously because he put his confidence in the word of God. ....

The truly significant people in this world know that God is everything and they’re nothing. Fads and fashions will rise and fall, but the word will keep on accomplishing its purposes. It will outlast us all. So let our reading, memorizing, catechizing, and preaching be saturated with the word. Let our songs, ministries and mission submit to the word. May all of our theological questions, relationship questions, family questions look to the word. May every new doctrine, new movement, new church, and new book be tested against the word. May all our living and dying be undertaken with the firm conviction that God is true though everyone were a liar (Rom. 3:4).

God's word is smarter, clearer, truer, and speaks to people's deepest needs more than you and I ever could. So try thinking a few less original thoughts and people just might find you relevant in 500 years. “A voice says, Cry out. And I said, What shall I cry? All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isa. 40:6-8). [more]
DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed: Withering and the Word: John Calvin at 500

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