Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Christ Glorified in Jocks and Nerds

Just the other day, I listened to a keynote panel (audio/video) from the Resolved Conference including CJ Mahaney, Steve Lawson, John MacArthur, and Rick Holland. During the discussion, CJ made the following observation:

"These men have a voracious appetite to read, because they have a voracious appetite to learn, because these men have a voracious appetite to grow in their knowledge of, and love for, God."
After he shared this observation, each man took their turn sharing how they once were not interested in academics, but spent much of their youth pursuing athletics. A couple of these men had great success in the athletic arena, and any reading or school work was simply completed for the sake of maintaining eligibility. However, each man shared how either at their conversion, or upon the call from God into ministry, they began to develop a new love for reading. They shared how this was such a radical change in their life that it was obvious it must have been wrought from God. CJ even shared (who experienced this change right at conversion) that it served initially as an evidence of grace in his life. Each man proclaimed that their love for reading had no other source than the love and grace of God.

But there was one other man on the panel.

Al Mohler does not share their testimony. Mohler joked that while the other members of the panel were outside playing with balls, he was inside reading books. Mixing his near-sightedness with athletic endeavors, Mohler quickly discovered, "This isn't working." Mohler explains the distinction:
I think we can make a virtue out of reading that can be an end in itself. But reading is not an end in itself, growth into godliness is the end; being conformed into the image of Christ. That's going to happen by Scripture, it's going to come by the teaching and preaching of the Word of God and it's going to happen by reading. So reading is not "the thing," it's not the end in itself. It is the way God has chosen to help His people grow, and it's been that way from the beginning. The Jews were dependent upon the scrolls. Paul says to Timothy, "Bring the books and the parchments in a hurry." It's just important and we realize we're not going to grow if we're not reading and studying.
I praise God for the testimony of both. The "reading jocks" remind us that you must read to be able to truly grow. But the "nerds" remind us that reading is not glorious if growth in godliness is not the goal. Without each other, neither message would be as clear.

Personally, I've never been smart enough to qualify as a "nerd" and certainly lack the athleticism to be a "jock." However, I will read, and call the sheep at Grace to read, because I trust in a sovereign God--for no other reason than to show His divine glory and mercy--delights in conforming His children into the image of His Son through His Word.

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