SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

Garden

I’m often amused at the reaction I see in others when someone who has not been very vocal suddenly speaks out. It reminds me of the teaching of that great Jewish Philosopher, Moses Maimonides, who once wrote: “Every man possesses a certain amount of courage, otherwise he would not stir to remove anything that might injure him. This psychical force seems to me analogous to the physical force of repulsion. Energy varies like all other forces, being great in one case and small in another. There are, therefore, people who attack a lion, whilst others run away at the sight of a mouse. One attacks a whole army and fights, another is frightened and terrified by the threat of a woman. This courage requires that there be in a man’s constitution a certain disposition for it. If man, in accordance with a certain view, employs it more frequently, it develops and increases, but, on the other hand, if it is employed, in accordance with the opposite view, more rarely, it will diminish.” Maimonides believes the same is true with our intuitive faculties. We all possess it, but in varying degrees. Says, Maimonides, “Man’s intuitive power is especially strong in things which he has well comprehended, and in which his mind is much engaged. Thus you may yourself guess correctly that a certain person will say or do a certain thing in a certain matter. Some persons are so strong and sound in their imagination and intuitive faculty that, when they assume a thing to be in existence, the reality either entirely or partly confirms their assumption. Although the causes of this assumption are numerous, and include many preceding, succeeding, and present circumstances, by means of the intuitive faculty the intellect can pass over all these causes, and draw inferences from them very quickly, almost instantaneously.” This is all caused, says Maimonides, by what he calls “the Active Intellect.” Without this, prophets such as Moses, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and others could have never been motivated to speak their minds and say what they believed. Thus we may deduce that if you are not prone to speak out and express your thoughts without fear of what others may say, then you do not possess an active intellect. We can never learn anything from closed books or nonattendance at sessions of education where the status quo of our thinking is challenged. Some people go through life with the mute button on. So that after years of living, they know nothing new and say nothing unique. Don’t mimic the three Japanese monkeys seen in the carving over a door of the famous Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō, Japan: see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing. It is certainly permissible for anyone to choose not to express their opinion when it comes to politics, performance or personality, but when it comes to one’s faith in God, His Son, His Spirit and His Word, that should never be met with silence.

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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