This is the second of three eagle paintings completed this summer in Oil. I chose it to represent our subject—Thinking. I can’t claim to understand eagle thinking, but when I see one of these striking birds in flight, I imagine. My imagination suggests the eagle is processing a collection of past experiences and skills, as well as the current landscape (thinking), to formulate a plan for capturing the next meal from somewhere in the field below!
What is thinking? I see thinking as a mental activity that recalls, organizes and arranges.
Thinking is like rummaging through the attic, or garage, looking for something that will meet my current need.
Thinking is like rummaging through the refrigerator or pantry in search of what will be on the dinner table tonight.
In either case you may start with an idea, then search for what will be needed to fulfill the idea or start rummaging through what you have on hand and create something you hadn’t planned—surprise! Either case, your rummaging (thinking) is limited to the contents of your attic/garage or refrigerator/pantry. In that moment, you’re confined to the inventory on hand.
We actually have an abundance of information stored in our minds, gleaned from personal or vicarious experiences of others through reading and listening. Simultaneously, it’s recallable but it’s also limited. The product of my thinking is only as extensive as my current inventory. Granted: I may Google to access a piece of information I don’t have in my memory bank, but the notion–to Google—is itself a current deposit.
The less information in my memory bank the fewer resources I have to meet the challenges life sets before me. It’s been said: ‘To the carpenter, all life’s challenges can be solved with a hammer!’ Get the idea?
Other words associated with thinking include: meditate, contemplate, cognition, idea and mind.
What is the ‘take away’ from this information?
While I believe this might apply in all walks of life, I want to apply it to the life of one who has decided to become a follower of Jesus. How might thinking—this mental activity that recalls, organizes and arranges apply to following Jesus? It starts with clarifying the goal. In this case: ‘To follow Jesus’. Where do I start?
- What helpful resources are available? Rummage your brain (think) and recall what you think might help reach this goal.
- What have you learned from these resources that help toward the goal? Rummage your brain to recall what you have already learned and, perhaps, are applying.
We could continue suggesting questions, but my guess is that your rummaging (thinking) has already included: Scripture, Holy Spirit, prayer, church, small group, devotional books and perhaps more.
- The more we have in our mental deposit, the more our thinking may recall that will prove helpful in reaching our goal—‘To follow Jesus.’
- We can only recall what is there. A low inventory may encourage adding deposits!
Here are two scriptures advocating thinking:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But, his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates (thinks) day and night. [Psalm 1:1-2]
He/she rummages through Hebrew Scriptures recalling and thinking on practical truth that has been stored in memory.
“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. [2 Peter 3:1-2]
Peter asks the followers of Jesus to rummage (think) through Peter’s letters, the words of Jesus and apostles, to see how what they recall relates to the life of a Jesus follower.
Next week we’ll move to another part of our subject: Critical Thinking.
“ How can a young (or older!) person keep his/her way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9, 11 NIV
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. Philippians 4:8, 9 NIV