I decided to do a bit of light reading this morning and picked up Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ. The quote below is taken from Book 1, Chapter 3. Therein, he stresses the necessity of piety and the imitation of Christ above all else. The pursuit and acquisition of knowledge without embodying those very truths is vanity.
If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived.
I, for one, don’t like the dichotomy between knowledge and praxis. We will always know more than we will assimilate. And as we continue to broaden our own knowledge base and perspectives, we are more likely to be affected by what we learn and thus more likely to grow. Nevertheless, there is the tendency to learn for the sake of false wisdom and for acclaim. And, thus, we would be foolish not to heed à Kempis’ piercing warnings: The Christian is to always be about the business of becoming more like Christ.
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