February 1, 2019

‘I don’t think being silent is sufficient’

I read these words, recently, from a man who is hoping to start a crisis pregnancy center in his area:
‘It is a massive undertaking, but I don’t think being silent is sufficient. I trust that God will help us.’
And both his ‘massive undertaking’ itself, and his reason for undertaking it (the insufficiency of silence), were convicting. How much do I lift my voice on behalf of the unborn? How deeply am I bending my back, like this man, to the task of pushing back against the evil of abortion? Against the killing of the unborn in our land?

His efforts and reasoning reminded me of Proverbs 24:11-12 –
“Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.
If you say, ‘See, we did not know this,’
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul?
And will He not render to man according to his work?”
Now, I don’t know whether Solomon had the unborn (perhaps among others) in mind when he wrote those two verses. But what he says surely applies to them! “Deliver those [unborn] who are being taken away to death”! “Oh hold them back”!

The brother above is faithfully attempting such “deliver[ance]”! And it convicts me. I’m helped, as well, by his ‘trust that God will help’ he and his co-laborers in the task. I’ll come back to this faith.

But first, let’s ask how we can join him in protecting the unborn. How do we undertake to “deliver those who are being taken away to death”? How do we put into practice the truth that silence is insufficient in the face of the great societal ill of abortion?

Let me give you some ideas, none of which (either in the specific suggestions, or in the broader categories) are original to me. And let me repeat what someone has said, namely that no one of us can or must do all of these things, but every one of us can and should do some, or at least one, of them.

Here are the ideas:

Get involved poiltically. Vote for candidates who will seek to protect the unborn. When opportunity arises, vote for legal measures that will protect them. Participate in grassroots efforts that attempt to protect them (like the Personhood initiatives in recent years in some states). Write your elected officials on behalf of “those who are being taken away to death”. Become an elected official who will fight for them.

Adopt. It has been wisely pointed out that, when a women is pregnant with a child whom she does not have the wherewithal to raise, the availability of loving couple who would be happy to take and care for that child can be a great deterrent to abortion. And thus it is further pointed out that we need such couples! Maybe someone reading these lines will be among them!

Start something. I don’t think I’d have thought of this category, and of the specific ideas within it, except that I’ve recently gotten news of two different men, in two different places, desiring to start crisis pregnancy centers. Neither is a wealthy benefactor. But both are men who are concerned to do something for the unborn. And if they can do so, perhaps someone reading this article could start a center, too. Or maybe, like a couple of church members recently got our church to do, you start an adoption and foster care fund. Or, like the men I’ve met through the years who started Personhood initiatives, perhaps you begin a grassroots campaign to change the law.

Give. Give to the kind of work that I’ve recently learned of two men hoping to initiate: the starting of a crisis pregnancy center. Give to such a center that is already up and running (fill those Life Forward baby bottles, Cincinnati area folks; and give to Life Forward in other ways, too - see their "Give" page, and the "Get Involved" tab on their website). The church members mentioned above persuaded our leadership of the importance of giving toward the costs and needs associated with adoption. Give to that, too!

Influence individuals. Be a sidewalk counselor in front of an abortion clinic. Influence a friend, or a grandchild, or a co-worker to choose life. Volunteer with a crisis pregnancy center.

Pray. If silence is insufficient in the face of the great evil that is abortion, surely that means we mustn’t be silent on this matter in our prayer lives, either. So pray! Pray for the unborn in general. Intercede on behalf of any specific imperiled unborn children about whom you may know (and for their parents). Pray for the sorts of actions mentioned in this article.

So there you have some ideas for “deliver[ing] those who are being taken away to death”. And the faith of the man quoted at the beginning (‘I trust that God will help us’) urges me to ‘trust’ – and to urge you to ‘trust’ – that God will help us’, too, if and when we join this brother in the fight.

January 24, 2019

"The lips of knowledge"

“There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;
But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.”
Proverbs 20:15

“Gold, and an abundance of jewels” are mighty fine, Solomon acknowledges. These treasures – the kinds of items one might find hidden in a chest, or protected in a safe, or made into exquisite jewelry – are indeed “precious”. “But”, he says, “the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing” (emphasis added).

Wow! Let that sink in! In comparison with fine jewelry, or the contents of a treasure chest, “lips” that convey “knowledge are a more precious thing”!

And surely it is primarily, if not entirely, “the knowledge of God” (to which he makes reference in Proverbs 2:5) that Solomon has in view in our text. Surely he has in mind “the knowledge of the Holy One” (as he calls it in Proverbs 9:10). “Gold” is “precious”, he grants. “Jewels” as well, he admits. “But the lips of knowledge” – “lips” that communicate “the knowledge of God” – “are a more precious thing.”

Now, does Solomon mean that “the lips of knowledge are a … precious thing” to be possessed (and, of course, opened) by us? Or is he saying that “the lips of knowledge”, possessed by others and opened to us, “are a … precious thing”? Or is it both?

In any case, surely both are true!

It is certainly true that, appraised in comparison with “gold, and an abundance of jewels”, “the lips of knowledge” that are opened to us by others “are a more precious thing.” It is a great blessing, in other words, to have people – whether parents, disciplers, Sunday School teachers, elders, pastors, or whomever – who teach us “the knowledge of God”! “The lips of knowledge” which they open to us “are a … precious thing”! Let us thank God for them, and make good use of what they have to offer!

It is also certain that, in comparison with “gold, and an abundance of jewels”, “the lips of knowledge” that we may possess (and, of course, open) ourselves “are a more precious thing” as well! We are exceedingly blessed if we possess “the knowledge of the Holy One”, and have the faculty for communicating that “knowledge” to others. We are exceedingly blessed, in other words, if we possess “the knowledge of God” and can tell others about Him! And, if you are a Christian, dear reader, surely it is true that, in some measure, you do and you can; that, in some measure, you have “the lips of knowledge”. They “are a … precious thing”, says Solomon! So make sure you open them!

“There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;
But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.”