sententiarum collectio

Category: Life & Love (Page 1 of 5)

Resisting or Renouncing Evil

There is a great difference between resisting evil and renouncing it. When you resist evil, you give it your attention; you continue to make it real. When you renounce evil, you take your attention away from it and give your attention to what you want. Now is the time to control your imagination and give your energy to what you want.

— Neville Goddard

If you will not fight

If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

— Winston Churchill

Business with Brothers

You should go into every business relationship with a brother looking to give something additional, rather than trying to get something additional. Don’t expect discounts because you are a brother. Try, when possible, to give something additional because he’s a brother. And when someone in the church is doing business with you, you are not responsible for whether or not they are observing this. And if you decide to stop using the services of a brother it may be because of ordinary reasons (price, distance, etc.), slipshod or substandard workmanship, or unethical work (biblically defined). For the first, no explanation is necessary. Just go your way. If the person asks, tell them. For the second, you must tell your brother about your concerns. If you have done so, then it is legitimate to express those concerns to others, if they seek or need your recommendation on this brother’s work. If he installed your cabinets upside down, it is not “gossip” to say so when someone asks for a recommendation. For the third scenario, you must follow the pattern given in Matthew 18.

Being a member of the same church does not entitle you to free consulting services. When you ask questions of a brother in business, it should only be in order to determine whether or not you need his services, and not an attempt to get his services without paying for them. Avoid making anyone “set up shop” at church or fellowship events.

At a fellowship event, you can ask questions about “when would be a good time to call about thus and such?” But even here, be sensitive. When you call, after you have asked a few questions about whether or not the services are necessary, you are on the threshold of imposing on a brother. This means that after the first few minutes, you should expect the meter to be running (and should say so). If the person you are talking to does not charge you that is his business. But you should expect a bill as soon as you get to the point of using his expertise.

Remember some professions are more vulnerable to this kind of imposition than others. Low risk: MRI technicians, librarians. Medium risk: teachers, guys with tools and pick-up trucks. High risk: medical doctors, auto mechanics, veterinarians, realtors.

Beware of the egalitarianism which says that it is all right to do this to what you consider “high income” professions. Don’t assume that someone “doesn’t mind” because you have been doing this to him for years. He just has better manners than you do.

Wives, do not do an end run around your husband. If he has said that you are not going to spend any money on whatever it is, you should not try to get the service without spending any money. This just turns one sin into two.

In all things, apply the Golden Rule. Ask yourself what would be a temptation to you in your profession, and then don’t do that to other people in theirs.

— Douglas Wilson, Gashmu Saith It

Christian Economy

When you are engaged, as we are, in seeking to build true Christian community, the first thing that will happen is that an economy will start to take shape. And this means, in its turn, that disputes will arise. Most of the gnarly disputes will be about business or finances. This is borne out in my experience, and in line with a survey we sent out to the members of our church community. We asked, for example, how many of them had had business deals with fellow church members go south on them, and more than a few had.

Test your heart first. When you are thinking about a business opportunity with another member of the church, ask yourself this kind of question first. If your first thought is that because so-and-so is a fellow church member he might cut you a deal, then I would plead with you as your pastor to go do business with the pagans. You’ll fit in better there. That’s how you can best maintain the peace and purity of the church. How many Christians think something like this? “Ooo-he has that little fish in his shop window. I think I’ll add 10% to whatever he invoices. After all, he’s a brother.”

And when the attitude is right, there is another thing I would ask you to include. Too many Christians think that regeneration, or good intentions, or having a nice personality will somehow make your memory perfect, or will prevent you from getting hit by a truck. Suppose you get hit by that truck, and your heirs and your partners’ heirs are all trying to figure out what that handshake fifteen years ago meant. So write it down. This does not make you suspicious and unloving. God loves us perfectly, and He still wrote it down.

Not only that, but neither does regeneration magically bestow craft competence. Your salvation is by grace through faith, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). But kids, your grade point average does not work that way. Adults, neither does your business work that way. Your vocation in the world is found in the next verse. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). And good works here most manifestly includes good work.

Good work is work. Even though the grace of God underlies all things, including all our work, our work remains work. Your ability to carry a load of bricks over to the build site is ultimately the grace of God, but the actual carrying is work. The bricks are not moved before you get there “by grace through faith.”

— Douglas Wilson, Gashmu Saith It

Beowulf: Living and Glory

As a forty-some year old man, reading Beowulf for the first time, I was caught by the humanity that rang and resonated through time and adventure. None of my observations would withstand critical scrutiny, but I’ll share here the lines that rang throughout my soul.

Beowulf, the hero of centuries, was taken for granted and dismissed by his compatriots. Though he was of noble lineage and nobler character, and though he was trained in the king’s own courtyard, his pedigree wasn’t sufficient for his peers. His great valour was misunderstood, perhaps intentionally misconstrued, by his masters and his lessers. He went on to rescue them, repeatedly, yet their perspective never changed beyond a few celebratory moments. They viewed themselves as worthy of rescue, but they found little worth in their rescuer. Nevertheless he remained loyal to them, at his own peril and great loss.

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, spoke:
“Wise sir, do not grieve. It is always better
to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.
For every one of us, living in this world
means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
that will be his best and only bulwark.”

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, by Seamus Heaney (2000), at 1383, emphasis added.

Beowulf: Finally Abandoned

As a forty-some year old man, reading Beowulf for the first time, I was caught by the humanity that rang and resonated through time and adventure. None of my observations would withstand critical scrutiny, but I’ll share here the lines that rang throughout my soul.

Beowulf, the hero of centuries, was taken for granted and dismissed by his compatriots. Though he was of noble lineage and nobler character, and though he was trained in the king’s own courtyard, his pedigree wasn’t sufficient for his peers. His great valour was misunderstood, perhaps intentionally misconstrued, by his masters and his lessers. He went on to rescue them, repeatedly, yet their perspective never changed beyond a few celebratory moments. They viewed themselves as worthy of rescue, but they found little worth in their rescuer. Nevertheless he remained loyal to them, at his own peril and great loss.

Sad at heart, addressing his companions,
Wiglaf spoke wise and fluent words:
“I remember that time when mead was flowing,
how we pledged loyalty to our lord in the hall,
promised our ring-giver we would be worth our price,
make good the gift of the war-gear,
those swords and helmets, as and when
his need required it. He picked us out
from the army deliberately, honoured us and judged us
fit for this action, made me these lavish gifts—
and all because he considered us the best
of his arms-bearing thanes. And now, although
he wanted this challenge to be one he'd face
by himself alone—the shepherd of our land,
a man unequalled in the quest for glory
and a name for daring-now the day has come
when this lord we serve needs sound men
to give him their support. Let us go to him,
help our leader through the hot flame
and dread of the fire. As God is my witness,
I would rather my body were robed in the same
burning blaze as my gold-giver's body
than go back home bearing arms.
That is unthinkable, unless we have first
slain the foe and defended the life
of the prince of the Weather-Geats. I well know
the things he has done for us deserve better.
Should he alone be left exposed
to fall in battle? We must bond together,
shield and helmet, mail-shirt and sword."

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, by Seamus Heaney (2000), at 2631, emphasis added.

Beowulf: Valour Misunderstood

As a forty-some year old man, reading Beowulf for the first time, I was caught by the humanity that rang and resonated through time and adventure. None of my observations would withstand critical scrutiny, but I’ll share here the lines that rang throughout my soul.

Beowulf, the hero of centuries, was taken for granted and dismissed by his compatriots. Though he was of noble lineage and nobler character, and though he was trained in the king’s own courtyard, his pedigree wasn’t sufficient for his peers. His great valour was misunderstood, perhaps intentionally misconstrued, by his masters and his lessers. He went on to rescue them, repeatedly, yet their perspective never changed beyond a few celebratory moments. They viewed themselves as worthy of rescue, but they found little worth in their rescuer. Nevertheless he remained loyal to them, at his own peril and great loss.

Thus Beowulf bore himself with valour;
he was formidable in battle yet behaved with honour
and took no advantage; never cut down
a comrade who was drunk, kept his temper
and, warrior that he was, watched and controlled
his God-sent strength and his outstanding
natural powers. He had been poorly regarded
for a long time, was taken by the Geats
for less than he was worth: and their lord too
had never much esteemed him in the mead-hall.
They firmly believed that he lacked force,
that the prince was a weakling; but presently
every affront to his deserving was reversed.

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, by Seamus Heaney (2000), at 2176, emphasis added.

Kings made their tombs…

Kings made tombs more splendid than houses of the living, and counted old names in the rolls of their descent dearer than the names of sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry; in secret chambers withered men compounded strong elixirs, or in high cold towers asked questions of the stars. And the last king of the line of Anárion had no heir.

– J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

The Physician’s Prayer

From the inability to let well alone, from too much zeal for the new and contempt for what is old, from putting knowledge before wisdom, science before art and cleverness before common sense, from treating patients as cases and from making the cure of the disease more grievous than the endurance of the same, good Lord deliver us.

– Sir Robert Hutchison

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