The Lost Art Of Thinking

Paul writes to the Romans and says, Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5)(ESV) Even the principle of giving is extremely personal for the Apostle instructs the Corinthians, Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ” (2 Corinthians 9:7)(ESV). So what has become of the lost art of thinking?
Take a short test. Answers to the following questions will be given at the end of the article – no cheating, please.
1. Which can see better in total darkness, an owl, a raccoon or a skunk?
2. What month has 28 day in it?
3. If the doctor gave you three pills and told you to take one every half hour, how long would they last?
4. How many times can you subtract one from one hundred?
5. Take two apples from three apples and what do you have?
6. Can a man living in Russia be buried in the United States?
7. How many animals of each species did Moses take with him in the ark?
8. A shepherd had 17 sheep. All but nine died. How many did he have left?
9. How many three cent stamp are there in a dozen?
10. Is there a Fourth of July in England?
(Now check your answers at the end of this column. How did you do?)
Don’t feel bad if you failed some. I did when I first took the test. It just shows one of our weaknesses, that we are taught to think in a certain groove, and when we face simple questions outside of our thinking pattern, the answers just don’t fit, and are often incorrect.
We see with our eyes with 20/20 vision (unless there is something wrong with them), and on a clear day the eye can see for miles. If this were all the “seeing” necessary, then we would all see the same thing. But seeing with our eyes is not the only way we see. We see with our mind as well. Usually our “mind-sight” is “20/20” unless there is something wrong with it. We see beauty, danger, color and even answers to simple questions (as posed above), with our mind. The eye sees the questions but the mind sees the answers.
But there is yet another way we see. We must learn to see with our heart. In the book of First Samuel, Eli, the high priest, saw Hannah with his eyes, but he never saw Hannah with his heart. He thought she was drunk, when she was in deep depression and grief (I Samuel 1). Many a person seems to be drunk with the human eye when they are victims of broken hearts.
Green River, Wyoming (AP) “A suicide was reported in Green River, Wyoming today. A note was found under the windshield wiper, which read, ‘I have been waiting for eleven long hours for someone to stop. I can’t stand the cold any longer. They just keep passing me by.”
The temperature that night was 18 below. While many “saw” the man, none saw him with their heart! Thinking across the grain is not easy, yet it pays great rewards to the one who does it. What’s easy is just to think like others, follow the crowd, and be one of the guys, get in line, peas in a pod, everyone just the same.
To illustrate – Have you ever seen a “kuckle-burr”? That’s what they call them in Oklahoma. They were a headache, a real downer. They would get all over your socks or britches, and one by one had to be picked off. They were (and still are) a constant nuisance. A stranger from the north was visiting, looking for some land. These little clingers intrigued him. He would press them together and they would hold, and then pull them apart and they would remain the same. You guessed it, he went back home a made a fortune. They called it Velcro. So what is a trouble to most becomes a fortune to the few. He was a thinker.
Jesus talked about bread, fishnets, seed, lilies, birds, dogs, and coins, just about anything that was common, but they all said, “Never have we heard a man speak like this man speaks. He speaks as one with authority”. Salt is the most common of all yet Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (ESV) (Matthew 5:13). What could be more common than light, yet Jesus taught, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (ESV) (Matt. 5:14-15)
So we go about singing, “This little Christian light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”.
The teaching of Christ was always simple, too simple in fact for some to grasp. He was so down to earth that he spoke over their heads. They only heard with their ears. In their wisdom they had become fools, but not so with the common people. He created in them a joy of learning again, of seeing things with their hearts. Jesus spoke to the most unlearned in his audience. If that person understood then he knew that all could comprehend. He took them from what they knew to what they didn’t know from the earthly to the spiritual. He used stories, parables, taking them from the known to the unknown. They crowded to hear him and nearly pushed him into the sea. He called for a boat and the owner and used one to illustrate and the other to teach. He was always ‘thinking across the grain’. Nothing about him was too humble to be used in communicating good truths to his audience. He even used the lowly worm in speaking of “Gehenna” (Mark 9:44).
Similarly in life, whether learning or teaching, whether giving or getting, every man (person) should be convinced in his (her) own mind. Traditions are common to us all. They are the living faith of the dead. But “traditional-isms” are the ones to be avoided for they are the dead faith of the living.
Answers to the quiz:: (1) None, for it’s total darkness. (2) Every month.
(3) One hour (4.) Only once. (5) Two apples. (6) No, he’s still alive. (7)
Moses did not build the ark. (8) Nine. (9) Twelve. (10) Yes, there is a fourth
of July everywhere.)

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