INNER CIRCLE: Dollars, Doors, Dogs and Dung

INNER CIRCLE: Dollars, Doors, Dogs and Dung January 26, 2024

IMAGE: Keith Giles [MidJourney]
Today’s INNER CIRCLE post features commentary on two sayings from the Gospel of Thomas:

Saying 93

Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs, lest they cast it on the dung-heap. Do not cast the pearls to the swine, lest they make it (into dung).”

Yet another saying found elsewhere in the New Testament Gospels for us to consider. In this case, the original saying from Thomas is cut off at the end so it’s not entirely clear what the pigs will do with the treasure they receive. Nevertheless, the admonition to hold back what is holy from dogs or what is valuable from pigs says less about the quality of the people receiving the gifts and more about the need for the giver, or the teacher, to practice discernment regarding who is ready to receive and who is not.

This saying goes hand-in-hand with the previous saying which was all about how the disciples once asked Jesus about things that he did not tell them, but only later decided they were ready to receive.

In a sense, Saying 92 is what Saying 93 looks like when put into practice by the teacher. So, if we are asked a question we would be wise to follow both the example of Jesus in the previous saying, and the words of Jesus in this one. Are the ones asking us for wisdom really ready to receive it? Would they devalue the gift or mishandle the treasure if we gave it to them? How can we know if they’re ready? When should we take that risk and share the wisdom they seem to desire? Those are the questions Jesus wants us to ask ourselves before we so easily give away what we’ve discovered.

Teachers are responsible not only for what they teach but also for those to whom they provide the teaching. A small child isn’t ready to learn about complex mathematics. A freshman in high school isn’t ready to take an exam at the Doctorate level. Withholding information can be just as important as sharing instruction. The timing has to be right, and the person has to be prepared to receive what we teach them.

 

 

Saying 94

Jesus said, “One who seeks will find. The door will be opened to one [who knocks].”

 

These three sayings seem to go together quite well, but by taking them on their own, one at a time, we can better savor the wisdom behind each one individually. Here, Jesus simply informs us that those who seek will find and that those who knock on the door will find it opened for them. But, taking those other sayings into consideration, we can see that we are not always ready for those answers to come, or those doors to swing open. We ourselves must strive to be ready for what we find when we seek. We must also commit ourselves to an ongoing lifestyle marked by seeking and asking, knocking and questioning, if we really hope to find the answers.

The need to cultivate our sense of wonder and curiosity is still very much in view here. Jesus is not referring to any sort of casual curiosity or meager questioning. He expects us to keep on seeking, and keep on knocking until the doors are open, and until we ourselves are ready to understand what answers lay waiting for us to uncover in the darkness.

So, Jesus encourages us to become people who ask many questions, and to embrace the virtue of ignorance by admitting we don’t have it all figured out and we do not already have all the answers. As Socrates said, “awareness of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.” This means we must become lifelong students of wisdom, always convinced that we have yet to learn all there is to know. Our ego assures us that we know almost everything, but our True Self realizes that we have barely scratched the surface of wisdom.

Maintaining our hunger for truth and our desire for knowledge is key for those who follow the way of Jesus. We should never let the cement dry on what we believe, or on what we think we know for certain.

**

Join me and my friend Angie Von Slaughter as we co-host a new weekly book club centered around Rick Rubin’s exceptional new book, “The Creative Act: A Way of Being.”

The class begins Saturday, Feb. 10 with a live Zoom call at 2pm MT [which will repeat at the same time for the duration of the course].

Learn more and register here>

Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

His latest book, Second Cup with Keith is available now on Amazon HERE>

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