Lean not on your own understanding…

Lean not on your own understanding…

For this school year, the university Cabinet selected a familiar and beloved scripture for our verse (actually verses) of the year.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

As the verse of the year was introduced to us at our opening convocation by Blair Spindle and Dr. Newman, I was struck by the timeliness of these words and the question that echoed in my brain was, “Who do we trust?” I teach courses dealing with communication and media and it is painfully apparent that we have more sources of information than at any other time in history. We have more voices competing for our attention and all claiming to be “trust”-worthy.

So how do we know who to trust? How do we know whose voice we should pay attention to? Where can we turn to get the truth?

This passage in Proverbs offers some really good direction. I think the first clue is this line, “do not lean on your own understanding”. I think my greatest temptation is to look for sources I can trust from those who say things I already agree with. I only listen to news sources that confirm my biases. I only follow people on social media who think just like I do. And dare I say, I go to churches where they worship a Jesus that looks just like me and thinks just like me. I am indeed just leaning on what I think is best to begin with.

Again, who do we trust. The verse says to “Trust in the Lord”. It sounds so simple. I think for most of my life I’ve assumed that going to church each week and being involved in all things Christian was surely a sign of my trust in the Lord. As I reflect on these verses, however, I’m wondering, “do the voices I listen to reflect Jesus or do they reflect me?”

We live in a world that says “don’t let any slight go unchallenged”. But the upside down kingdom of God says “turn the other cheek”.

We’re told that happiness and contentment come for acquiring wealth and things. But the counter-cultural message of Jesus is that the poor are the truly blessed.

So many voices try to convince us that we must wage war to get what we want. But God wants to build his kingdom out of peacemakers.

I find it a great honor to work at place where we actively seek to hear the voice of God and to let that voice guide our steps. I’m also humbled that as a teacher I am one of the many voices that my students will have to critically evaluate for trustworthiness. Please pray with me that this semester, my voice and the voice of my colleagues will point toward our savior, Jesus Christ who is worthy of our trust.