Summary: In the Beginning, Part 5 of 7.
TALK THE TALK AND WALK THE WALK
I asked my good friend Rev. Michael Wu on an internet chat: “I am working on Enoch, do you have anything to say about him to my congregation??After an awkward pause, these words appeared on my monitor: “Enoch is one of the two youngest board members of our church. Born in LACAC (church). 26 years-old. Enoch means steady -- word root related to Amen in Hebrew. Maybe his parents want him to be steady in following Christ. I pray for that definitely.?
Of all the 15 specified heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, Enoch’s story in Genesis is the shortest text, the brightest hope and least mentioned today. Like others, I had reasons to skip Enoch. I had the opportunity to preach this passage twice in ten years, but passed on it because there was so much theology, so little text, and the task so uneasy.
A little Sunday school girl said this about Enoch: "Enoch was a man who learned to walk with God, and they used to take long walks together. One day they walked so far that God said, ’Look, Enoch, it’s too far for you to go back; just come on home with me.?So he walked on home with God."
The phrase “walked with God?refers to the abundant life, the blessed fellowship with God, the greatest spiritual experience of our loves. The only other person to do so was Noah (Gen 6:9), Enoch’s great grandson, born 69 years after Enoch was taken up. The theological implication of Enoch’s transportation to heaven is monumental: Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, the tree of life was guarded, and the repeated epitaph in Genesis 5 --“and he died?--- was the fate of all men. Man’s first real physical death was recorded in this chapter, beginning from Adam, through six generations before (5:5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20) and two after (5:27, 30), everyone died except Enoch. Not only did Enoch not die, he had no negative reviews, and he had a lengthy, steady, and daily relationship with God.
What characterizes a man who is so close to God? Can it be achieved? What is the outcome for those who spend substantial time with God?
ADD LIFE TO YOUR YEARS OF EXISTENCE (GEN 5:20-22)
20Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died. 21When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters
A London newspaper once offered a attractive cash prize for the best answer to this question: Which is the shortest trip to London? Of course, letters poured in, theories sprung up, and readers followed the outcome closely, until the sponsors announced the prize-winning answer. The winning entry was this: “The shortest way to London is good company.?(7,700 Illustrations # 3903)
No matter how far the distance, the travel is sweet with right company.
One of the biggest transformation in my life was when I attended classes under some great men like Dallas Willard, Warren Wiersbe, Calvin Miller, and Larry Crabb. Up till then, I have listened to many good preachers: Haddon Robinson, Charles Swindoll, John Stott, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren. I had bought their tapes, read their books, and had listened to some of them in seminary chapel, churches, and conferences.
When I was a student at Dallas Seminary in my late 20’s, interaction with the professors was rare, short, and formal. But, 10 years later, when I took classes under Willard, Wiersbe, Miller, and Crabb in a smaller classroom environment with about 10-25 fellow pastors, I began to actively ask questions, comment on the issue at hand, and interact confidently, spontaneously and hungrily with professors and fellow students. Slowly the quiet passive bystander disappeared. I picked up points here and there, other students shared their ups and downs, and the professors opened up their lives ?the highs and lows of family, kids, ministry and all. I grew by leaps and bounds, bits and pieces were put in place, things made sense, fell into place, and took care of itself.
My wife once said this to me just a few weeks ago: “Wow, I was thinking then, ‘You spend thousands of dollars studying, especially thousands of dollars for that Dallas Willard class, and nothing happened. Then suddenly you are putting up internet sermons, teaching at seminary, and writing for publication.?Actually, it was $2,248, I checked. $1,600 for the course, and $648 for housing and seclusion at a monastery.
I blossomed, thrived, and matured faster than I imagined under proper tutelage.
Walking with spiritual giants is dizzying, invigorating, and humbling. And walking with God is the road least traveled, the healthiest activity, and the best safeguard in life. Those who walk on this road do not wear and tear, wax and wane, or waver and doubt.