Thursday, April 30, 2009

OnFire #186 Dent and Return Surprises

OnFire #186 Dent and Return Surprises

I used to shop in a "Dent & Return" store. This was a warehouse at a canning factory where - you guessed it - all the dented and returned cans were brought. They could not be sold to a retailer because of their appearance, but they were still safe and a customer could pick and choose among the bins at a discount rate.

The most interesting section was where they sold the cans without labels. There weren’t a lot of these cans, but to save the labour costs of having to identify the contents by the codes, they were sold from a single bin at an extremely discounted rate. It might have been one of a dozen different kinds of vegetables, or pie filling - apple, cherry or pumpkin.

Like the cans in the random bin at Dent & Return, there are a lot of things that have to be experienced to know their true nature. The experience of the product is important. A friend told me lately about his car-shopping adventure. He really loved one particular model until he took it for a test drive. It reminds me of the saying, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

People are similar. We read about this in James 3:13. "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."*

Is someone really wise? The only way to know is to observe what they do. I used to think that wisdom was represented by the white-haired guy with a long beard, kind of like Gandolf in "Lord of the Rings," sitting on top of the mountain, with people lined up to listen to his words.

This is not the picture of wisdom in the Bible, however. Wisdom in the Bible is not about a person’s words. Instead, wisdom is demonstrated by action. Those who are wise will show it by how they live.

As I look around me, there are some people who simply live out their faith in Christ in all they do. They don’t make a big deal over it. They don’t trumpet their deeds or proclaim their smarts. In fact, they demonstrate humility by always being willing to learn something new. The don’t presume to be the expert, although some of them are actually leaders in their fields. To me they demonstrate the truth of James’ words. I want to be like them, like the way James tells us.

James reminds us that wisdom is not about whether we think we are wise, but whether our lives actually show that we are wise. Its not the advice we give, but the life we live.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published April 30, 2009. *Bible references taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at

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