I've recently begun preaching through the book of Colossians, and this past Sunday I unpacked a paragraph in Colossians 1 where Paul talks about the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God.
For those of you who weren't at church on Sunday -- or couldn't listen online because our recording software failed -- I talked about how our culture (and Paul's culture) so often uses knowledge in selfish or useless ways. We pride ourselves on how much useless information we know and we love to share that meaningless data at the drop of hat. We can so easily be know-it-alls -- where we know a lot, but it doesn't translate into actually affecting the way we live.
But Paul is making the point that our knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God is meant to actually accomplish something in the world -- to bear fruit and please God. Our knowledge isn't something that pulls us out of this world and into a more heavenly, spiritual realm, but compels us to root ourselves further into this earthly existence to be the good news of God in real, tangible ways. Our faith isn't meant to be trivial head-knowledge about God, but is supposed to shape the way we literally walk in the world. It's why, as I was reminded of by one of our astute members, we pray for God's kingdom to come here, on earth as it is in heaven.
And I was further reminded of this idea through recently hearing a modern parable, written and told by theologian/philosopher Peter Rollins. Take a listen to this short parable (about 2 minutes long):
Again, this idea reinforces what I was trying to communicate this past Sunday: that our faith and beliefs (our knowledge, wisdom, and understanding) are nothing if they're not lived out in real, practical ways that actually benefit and bless our world. So, may we all have the courage and conviction to walk the way of Jesus, bear fruit in the world, and live a life pleasing to God.