I just read about two monks coming to visit Pambo in Nitria, Egypt. Pambo, who died about AD 375, was visited by many, including influential spiritual leaders of his day.

Pambo of Nitria. Photo from Wikipedia

Anyway, these two monks came for spiritual advice, and asked Pambo for words of wisdom over a period of several days. He said nothing. Discouraged, they decided to leave without an answer. At that point they were told that this was common because Pambo did not answer until he discerned God had something for him to say.

It struck me deeply. How many times have I discussed a matter with someone and they answered immediately from their experience, training, learning. People rest upon diplomas on the wall, their personal past of trouble or achievement, stock answers from courses on counselling, or an opinion they hold. “Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:8 God’s Word Translation©)

I have expressed concern for years that discernment is a lost spiritual discipline these days.

Years ago I took my diplomas and certificates off the wall and they lie unceremoniously on top of my Old Testament and Hebrew texts. I cringe when people call me pastor or reverend. My time serving as clergy is irrelevant to me. My desire leads to focusing on God for insight, revelation and words from The Spirit.

My past simply opens my mind to listen for the guidance and direction of God, and the gratitude for the work of Jesus in my life. I constantly pray that my will is under the control of Creator. (See my page entitled “Test Me” (posted in 2014) on my home page to see what I mean.)

The longer God allows me to draw breath in this life the more I am drawn to servanthood (however halting and feeble that may be in reality). “I can do everything [but only] through Christ Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, emphasis words added, God’s Word Translation©). What I bring to the task is woefully inadequate to finish it.

Why do we think we have to have an answer to every question posed to us like there was an expiry date on the inquiry?