Let's Start at the Beginning
January 8, 2013
Excerpt from Proverbs 1:1-7
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
Kenneth L. Samuel
How many times in the past year have we not acted and then regretted it? How many times have we made decisions without praying, and then prayed to mitigate the damage caused by our bad decisions? How often do our plans and agendas relegate God to an after-thought?
The New Year gives us an opportunity to do some things differently. The wise writer of Proverbs begins with one simple but often neglected insight: "The fear or the reverence of God is the beginning of knowledge." The wisdom here has to do with how we begin. We are encouraged to begin every day and every decision with the acknowledgement that God is with us, God is working in us and God is watching over us. We are encouraged to begin every endeavor with the acknowledgement of God's presence, God's promise and God's power.
In a game I played as a child, a group of us would stand behind a line while a leader standing yards in front of us would give us instructions on how many giant or baby steps we could take forward. Sometimes the leader would say, "Kenny Lee, you may take five giant steps forward." I would eagerly take my steps, making them as long as my legs would allow. Then I would hear the leader say, "Kenny Lee, go back to the starting line!" "Why?" I demanded. "Because you didn't say, 'May I?'" In that childhood game I learned that there could be no advancement without the acknowledgement of the leader. Oh, but how often have I forgotten to acknowledge God—the real leader of my life—and how often have I had to pay the price for my neglect?
God is not just our Omega, God is also our Alpha. If God is worthy of blessing our endings, surely God is worthy to direct our beginnings.
Dear Lord, we are indeed grateful for new beginnings. Give us the wisdom to start with your direction so that we may be sustained and completed in your will. At the outset, we trust that you know what's best for us. Amen.
About the Author
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Order Spring Cleaning: 2013 Lent Devotionals - new from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group and other favorite UCC writers. Lent starts Feb. 13.
Ms. Christina Villa
Director of Publishing, Identity & Communication
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115