"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion" Proverbs 18:2 (ESV).

In semi-regular visits to the fount of all excess — Costco — I select my “ride” carefully. Since I’ll be pushing it through miles of aisles, I choose the best available cart for my shopping session. Yet the satisfaction is fleeting, for when I have finished, the purchases are unceremoniously removed from my hand-picked conveyance at the checkout and thrust into another cart. This one is a four-wheeled monstrosity, rusty and reluctant. Its balky, twisted frame with walleyed wheels must now be shoved shrieking across the vast tarmac to my car somewhere beyond the curvature of the earth.

It's straight out of Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories — choosing the best-looking apple but getting the worm instead.

In my opinion, we should be able to reap what we sow.

In my opinion, anyone who assumes they can sail through a red light with impunity should experience a divinely smitten transmission.

In my opinion, the robin who insists on my car for its daily deposits should be blown by a freak gust of wind to a field far, far away where it can perform oblations to its heart’s content.

In my opinion, Northwest weather forecasters should be held to basketball rules — six fouls and you’re out of the game.

In my opinion, folks who house an audibly nervous Chihuahua overnight in the hotel room next to mine should be offered the gracious opportunity to add my charges to their own.

In my opinion, anyone who thinks his or her opinion should be my opinion is just plain wrong.

In my opinion, young parents should not be picked off by cancer; money should never buy influence in the church; honesty would always win the day in court.

But my opinion doesn’t count for much in this world. Out of 7 billion souls around the globe, my vote is a miniscule drop in the ocean. Neither do my inclinations sway the court of divine judgment or rule the kingdom of God. For this, you and I can be grateful.

Whenever I get too confident in my own counsel, I am reminded of God’s words from Isa. 55:8–9: “'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ saith the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

Opinions are important. They give voice to our personalities and perspectives. But they are limited by our experiences, constrained by the blinders of our often petty and self-centered journeys.

So when we gather in Sabbath School classes and small groups to discuss Scripture, how do we rise above our collective opinions to really understand God's thoughts? In our larger constituencies for church business, how do our thick-headed, stiff-necked personalities adapt to divine wisdom? How do we breathe with a Spirit that moves us beyond individual prejudices and closer to the One at the center of all that really matters?

How do we echo the Savior’s own prayer? … “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

June 20, 2014 / Let's Talk