“Ingenuity” is a word that may not occur in Bible translations. But often stressed is the need to use our minds, to apply our hearts to wisdom, to do original and creative thinking toward fulfilling God-pleasing purposes, to be opportunists in a good sense.
Jesus said that His followers should be wise in their generation, to be “as shrewd as snakes” (Matthew 10:16). In a parable He commended an unjust steward, not for being dishonest but for using his mind.
Ingenuity – Saint Paul practiced it all the time, devising strategy in his mission work. He used the main roads and sea-lanes to reach key cities. He wrote, by way of explaining his approach to Israelites and Gentiles: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). He knew how and when to use his Roman citizenship, his skill as a tentmaker, his knowledge as a scholar.
During the gold-rush days in the mid-1800s another tentmaker, Levi Strauss, observed that the prospectors needed strong, rugged clothes. So he conceived the idea to use rough tent material to make the Levi jeans. The idea worked, and in the course of time the Strauss company became the world’s largest apparel maker.
God blesses rightly conceived and properly motivated ingenuity in His people, as He did the know-how of Saint Paul in behalf of the Gospel. He blesses their efforts to spread His Word by person-to-person testimonies and by the use of the mass media. He doesn’t want them to travel by oxcarts or in slow boats to China when they can use aircraft.
Think and Pray
God Himself showed great ingenuity in the way He created us in body and soul, and especially in the way He provided for our salvation. He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, born of a woman, to redeem us by taking our place. What love and wisdom!
Thank You Lord God, my Creator, for the powers of my mind. Help me to use these powers for good and to the glory of Christ Jesus my Savior. Amen.
From With Jesus Every Day © 1997 Concordia Publishing House. All Rights Reserved. For information on other devotional material, please contact Concordia at 800-325-3040 or visit them online at cph.org.