Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Great Endowment

Do you ever find yourselves reading along with the scripture and, suddenly, see/hear a phrase that makes of you a hostage?  It may be something you've read time-and-again, or something that crops up when you're reading a different version of the Bible.  Whatever it's cause: you're shackled.  Try as you might, that phrase and it's deeper meaning are tough to be free of.

That's exactly what happened when I stumbled across the word endow the other day. 

Immediately I thought of context:  The National Endowment for the Arts, or The Financial Endowment for Harvard came to mind.  Organizations such as these cannot exist without being endowed - - typically by someone or something other than themselves.

Merriam tells us that endow means to furnish with a dower (same as dowry); to provide with something freely or naturally.  Then, if we follow that trail, he tells us that a dowry means an estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage, or a gift of money/property by a man to/for his bride.  Seems a dowry can go either direction.

And so it was that I was taken hostage by the subject of endowments.

It began here: 

... for God did not endow her (the ostrich) with wisdom
or give her a share of good sense.  
Job 39:17

Wow.  Don't we all get that!  (I'm wondering why He chose to the word "her" to describe this un-endowed creature?)

So, instead of harking "Dumber than a box of rocks!"; we can hark "Dumber than an Ostrich!".  (What a delight it is to use the term hark in context.)

It's not so much that ostriches bury their heads in sand as it is that they're totally oblivious to reason.  They do what they do BECAUSE they are NOT able to do anything other than that. 

So, my thoughts trailed along that course for awhile, leading me eventually to the subject of just how one does become endowed with wisdom or the understanding born of it?  Certainly knowledge helps; the gathering of information and input and experience.  But that's not all.

On I went:

And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me (Isaiah),
endowed with his Spirit.
Isaiah 48:16

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
who made heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son,
endowed with intelligence and discernment 
2 Chronicles 2:12

Arise, shine, for your (Israel's) light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.. the honor of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.
Isaiah 1:1, 9

We've all heard it said:  "He/she is so smart - brilliant even; but they haven't a lick of common sense."  If it's true of ostriches, then it's certainly true of me - - or it COULD BE true of me.

If we take Merriam's definition of dowry, and we see that God Himself provided for both sides of the equation where marriage is concerned, we see more clearly that He alone endows wisdom AND understanding (not to mention His endowments of each & every other thing He requires).  
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God
Who justifies the ungodly (endowment),
 their faith is credited as righteousness. 
Romans 4:5

Now he who supplies (endows) seed to the sower and
bread for food will also supply (endows) and increase
your store of seed and will enlarge (endow) the
harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who has become for us (endowment) wisdom from God—
that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption
(triple endowments). 
1 Corinthians 1:30

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness
(endowment) of God. 
 2 Corinthians 5:21

In closing, let me just say how utterly blessed & baffled am I by so rich an estate.  Never in a million years could I provide so rich a dowry for myself; yet I am given such because of what He's done for me (and you).

What an endowment!


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

All gifts (endowments) are from God so we can't boast...I loved this and it just reminds me again that all good and perfect gifts come from the Father. Just like the bride or the groom didn't earn their dowry, neither do I.
Have a great day

Rebecca said...

Gives the term "well-endowed" a whole 'nother meaning!

Brings to my mind that great 1st chapter of Ephesians where Paul breaks out in praise of God's glorious grace and ALL the spiritual blessings that are ours because of Jesus!

Thanks be to God for His Unspeakable Gift!

Sonja said...

And it's all grace. And with such an endowment comes such a responsibility... oh how I pray to be faithful in my response to such an endowment.

Terri Tiffany said...

You made my morning!!
Happy Birthday today to you!!

Beth E. said...

It is so very humbling to be the recipient of such wealth. If His gifts were based upon what I deserved....oh, my. I'm so thankful for His mercy and grace.

Happy birthday, sweet Sassy!

myletterstoemily said...

you have taught us such a rich lesson,
but all i can think is of matronly women
who are 'well-endowed'. :)


Just a little something from Judy said...

Reading this post in the quietness of the morning and finding myself once again breaking out in the song, "Amazing Grace, How sweet the song". The endowments we have been freely given in our lives certainly does defy description. You sure did a great job trying though. The words and the verses you shared today certainly did encourage my heart.


As I was reading Job 39:7 a thought came to me! I have several relatives that this verse could apply too. Both men and women :-)

Sheryl said...

So many times I come here and read and just shake my head at where your mind goes. I am so grateful for your thirst for answers and your genuine curiosity. We all benefit.

God has indeed blessed us in so many ways. Most of which I take for granted because I don't pause to reflect on them.

(Had to laugh at the comments regarding being "well endowed". Funny that never popped into my head...maybe because I don't particularly enjoy being endowed that way. I think it's a pain..ha)

Love you my friend!