Summary: Our spiritual intelligence is seen in the ways in which we are ready at all times for the coming of Jesus, whether that be tomorrow or a hundred years from now.

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How High is Your SI: Spiritual Intelligence?

November 6, 2005

Matthew 25:1-13

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but sometimes people are not all that bright. There is a company out in Arizona called “Guns for Hire” which works with movie studios to produce western gunfights. One day a woman called them because she wanted to have her husband killed. She got four and a half years in prison.

Two men decided to rob an ATM machine. They backed up their pickup truck to the machine and hooked a chain between it and the rear bumper. As they pulled, the front of the machine stayed in place but the truck’s bumper came off. The men fled the scene, forgetting that their license plate was attached to the bumper.

Two Michigan bandits entered a record store with the intention to rob the cash register. Brandishing their guns, one shouted, “Don’t move!” When his partner moved, he shot him.

Sometimes, people are just not all that bright. I don’t remember where I heard this, but someone somewhere said that it is probably smart never to overestimate the intelligence of the general population.

I am amazed at all of those “dummies” books that you find in the bookstore. You know the ones: “Photography for Dummies,” “Angels for Dummies,” “The Bible for Dummies” “Dogs for Dummies” There are all sorts of those books out there. When I was writing my dissertation, I picked up a copy of “Internet Research for Dummies.”

My father-in-law is quite the fisherman. I’ve been fishing with him a time or two and my boys and I went with him on a weeklong fishing trip to Tennessee a few years back. All in all, he takes it much more seriously than I do. As a consequence, he catches more fish that I do. It doesn’t bother me too much if I don’t catch anything. I just like being out in the boat where no one can bother me too much.

We were looking for a birthday present for him once. Both of our fathers are incredibly difficult to buy presents for because they really don’t really need anything. We always try to be as creative as we can…sometimes more successfully than others.

This particular year, we found what we considered to be the perfect gift: “Fishing for Dummies.” As it turned out, he was really offended. We had to explain to him that we weren’t trying to be rude.

Back in the 90’s, researchers began to understand that success is life is not completely determined by IQ. In fact, technical expertise or book learning is not what matters most in success. Outstanding job performance is determined less by IQ and more by “Emotional Intelligence” (Daniel Goleman. “Working with Emotional Intelligence.” 1998. New York: Bantam Books). Emotional Intelligence is a different way of being smart. It has to do with your leadership style, how you get along with people, how you handle people, and how you work in teams.

Other researchers are talking about other forms of intelligence. For example: Visual-spatial intelligence has to do with the visual arts; Verbal-linguistic intelligence has to do with listening, speaking, reading, and writing; Musical-rhythmic intelligence has to do with sensitivity to sounds of the environment around you including human voices and musical instruments; Logical-mathematical intelligence helps us when we want to recognize patterns and geometric shapes. We could also talk about bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. There is an awful lot of research now being done in artificial intelligence. It sort of feels to me like we need a new book. “Intelligence for Dummies.”

I really think that we need to develop another sort of intelligence – spiritual intelligence. That’s the point, I think, of the Scripture lesson for today. Matthew was written sometimes after 70 AD at a time when people were expecting Jesus to return immediately. The destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 was believed to be the beginning of a series of events that would herald his arrival.

People have been expecting the second arrival of Jesus ever since his resurrection. The Apostle Paul expected his imminent return, as have people through the ages of Christian history. People have always been going up on mountaintops or out in deserts to await his coming.

There was an Amish fellow by the name of Jonas Stutzman who migrated from Pennsylvania in the early years of the 19th century. He in fact, became the first white man to settle in Holmes County. He farmed, taught school, ran a saw mill, and fathered nine children.

He believed that he had a special revelation from God. Known as Der Weiss or The White One, he refused to wear traditional black clothing because, he said, God made sheep white, so that is what color he would wear. He built a hickory chair especially for Jesus. In Jonas Stutzman’s theology, Jesus was expected to return to earth, not in Rome or Jerusalem, or Constantinople, but would come to rule from a hickory chair in Millersburg, Ohio. He fully expected that Jesus would return and set up his new kingdom in May or June of 1853.

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