Pearls of Wisdom

Yesterday at Southeastern University was a good day.

My department brought in as a special speaker Dr. Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of World magazine, which serves as an excellent commentary on current events from a Biblical perspective. We kept Dr. Olasky quite busy.

In the morning, he delivered a message in chapel that focused on how to analyze issues through a Biblical lens, showing that there are gradations in how directly the Scriptures apply to various situations. Some are obvious—abortion, homosexuality—while others are more vague, such as whether we should establish a no-fly zone over Libya. Yet even in those areas where there is no direct Biblical command, principles based on the Bible can still guide us.

At a luncheon, he provided a unique interpretation of the parable of the prodigal son, pointing out that both sons in that parable were wrong—the prodigal for wasting his inheritance and the older son for working joylessly at his tasks and being resentful of the reunion with the prodigal. He said, in political terms, Democrats were more like the prodigal, departing more from a Biblical standard, but that Republicans often mirrored the older, joyless son, thereby alienating voters. What is needed, he suggested, is a third son—not prodigal but not stern and joyless either. He believes that this type of person, one who can enjoy life and have a sense of humor yet still operate on solid principles, is not only the best person to have in office, but also more likely to attract votes. As he spoke, I naturally thought of Ronald Reagan. He fit that description perfectly.

At a special faculty colloquium, Dr. Olasky tackled the knotty issue of social justice, basing his remarks on a passage of Scripture from Micah 6:8:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

He defined justice, mercy, and humility in the original Hebrew, which then opened into a discussion of the role of the church in providing God’s kind of justice and mercy, and showing how God’s goals are thwarted when government takes over this task.

Finally, in an evening session, he challenged students to discover joy in the life and work God has given them. Although we live in a fallen world where the “thorns and thistles” get in the way of joyful work, we can learn what we do best and carry out God’s purposes in our lives.

I felt like we were treated all day long to some real pearls of wisdom.

Yes, yesterday at Southeastern University was a good day.