The Beginning of Wisdom is the Fear of The Lord, Prov. 9:10-12

It is not our ability to quote scripture that makes us His disciples, rather, it is how we live our daily lives.

Rather than reflect on this scripture directly, I am going to use the art of the parable to reveal its meaning. This is based on one of the stories from the traditions of the early church Desert Fathers.

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The tale is told of two Christians who were eager seekers and diligent in their particular spiritual practices, but wanted to know if there was something more to being a disciple of Christ. They went to an elder that was known for his wisdom, his piety, and his love for God, to see if they were, indeed, on the right track.

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The first one told the elder that he had memorized both the Old and the New Testaments by heart. The elder, recognizing the man’s pride in having accomplished this monumental effort, said to him in a quiet tone, “You have filled the air with words.” The other of the two said something similar: “I have copied out the Old and the New Testaments and have them in my cell.” Once again, the elder, seeing the pride of accomplishment in him at doing something so challenging and which, clearly, must have taken a tremendous dedication and focus, said to him, “You have filled your room with paper.” The men were confused by these simple words.

The elder, knowing that their hearts were in the right place, asked them an ironic question: “But did you not then in your noble efforts come to know Him who said: The kingdom of God is not in words, but in power (1 Cor 4:20)? And again: “Not those who hear the Law will be justified before God but those who carry it out” (Romans 2:13).

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With the elder’s question, the two men realized that, in their remarkable efforts to memorize the whole of the scriptures, or to copy them out, they had missed the very living meaning and point of the scriptures. They asked the elder: “Then, what is the way to salvation?” The elder answered by giving them an even greater personal challenge, saying: “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Prov 9:10-12).

To know the way to salvation you must first learn humility, then with patience, you must take on the difficult efforts and practices to live the word of God in your daily lives.” And so it is with us, here and now. It is not our ability to quote scripture that makes us His disciples, rather, it is how we live our daily lives in this world that reveals us as true followers of Jesus Christ.

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