Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
I was given Michael Lindvall’s delightful book, The Good News From North Haven, several years ago. In it, he tells the story of a young pastor named David accepting a call to a small congregation in rural Minnesota. After four years had passed, the pastor and his family began to feel at home. They had the conviction that God had led them to the right place, at the right time, to serve.
Then one day the pastor received a phone call from Minnie MacDowell’s husband saying that she was dying. The pastor had been out to their home on a number of occasions, only to find that her cry was a false alarm. But dutifully he went anyway, and as he arrived at the door her husband said, “Hi, David. Minnie’s got something she want’s to get off her chest.
Apparently Minnie had been the clerk of the Pulpit Nominating Committee, which had issued the call to David four years earlier. The committee had received 28 PIF’s (that’s, Personal Information Forms) and eventually narrowed their choice to two names. David remembered how elated he was when he received the simple handwritten note with no heading, only a date and then the words, “Dear Sir: We are most pleased to inform you…” Minnie confessed that she had written the letters to the two final candidates, and somehow she put the letters in the wrong envelopes. When David phoned so enthusiastically to say that he would come, they didn’t have the heart to tell him what had happened. They accepted him as their pastor.
Now, David was crying instead of Minnie. But the more he reflected upon this bizarre incident after he left the MacDowell’s home, the more he realized that he did feel at home with this church, and his ministry was an effective one. The Wisdom of God had somehow overruled Minnie’s mistake. It was a strange providence indeed.
WISDOM, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is: “Knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life; the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand; knowledge of what is proper or reasonable … good sense or judgment.”
Here’s the question I have for us to think about today: Is the Christian understanding of WISDOM different from CONVENTIONAL WISDOM? Paul, in the opening section of the second chapter of his first letter to the Christians in Corinth, deals with this exact question. Paul had definite ideas about WISDOM and if you know Paul, the guy was not shy about sharing his ideas with just about anybody… Read full sermon here (PDF)