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the point

This is what the LORD says: "Let not the (1) wise man boast of his wisdom, let not the (2) strong man boast of his strength or the (3) rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight." says the LORD.        Jeremiah 9: 23-24 (Circa BC 625)

Jersey has had some (1) wise men and women in the past  - and in the present but it's best not to give cause for boasting. One who springs to mind is Senator Cyril Le Marquand, the politician who set the climate for Jersey to have a finance industry - and who set the "high-stature", "high-standards" entry level for all financial institutions. And Dr Frank Sinnatt (1880-1943) who was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for his work in fuel research and coal.

Jersey has had some (2) strong men and women in the past (and the present - but no boasting) - folk like Philippe de Carteret (1733-1796), the Circumnavigator and Rear Admiral, who, according to the Dictionary of National Biography, ranked “amongst the greatest geographical discoverers of his time".  And Brigadier General Thomas Anquetil (1784-1842), who has monuments to his memory in St John's Church, Calcutta and in Jersey's Town Church.

Jersey has had some (3) rich men and women in the past (and now - boast not). These are more difficult to pinpoint - no Sunday Times "Rich List" until recent years. And we often assess riches by appearances - deceptive appearances. But the General Hospital has a list of benefactors in its vestibule that records significant wealth - passed on for the benefit of others.
‘Most self-made men worship their creator.' (Anon.)

I expect a similar position existed in Jerusalem in around BC 625 (see above).  King Josiah, a good, young King - was on the throne and Jeremiah was a brave, young, outspoken prophet at the centre of his court. Josiah has replaced King Manasseh - a truly bad king - and there was much work to be done to restore the people and the nation. As always, there were (1) wise men, (2) strong men and (3) rich men in the territory.

So Josiah and Jeremiah worked together to encourage the people with regard to their enemies all around them. (Jersey too is surrounded - by international groupings - by the EU, the OECD and the IMF, amongst others.) As recorded above and in the midst of all these fears, Jeremiah clearly stated this message from Almighty God: no boasting in your-selves, your (1) wisdom, your (2) strength, your (3) money; boast only that you understand and know the Lord God Almighty - the one who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth.

In putting this forward, Jeremiah was, in fact, stating the point. That is, he was giving the answer to a question often asked in Jersey, whether in partial despair or frustration or as an earnest enquiry: "What's the point of it all?"

The point is that nothing in this world that we have – (1) wisdom, (2) strength, (3) riches - compares with actually understanding and knowing the Lord God Almighty.
‘Man is not making his way up through animism, fetishism, totemism, polytheism and monotheism to a knowledge of God. He started with a knowledge of God and has been going the other way ever since.' (Vance Havner, preacher, 1901-1986)

Not at all surprisingly, the teaching of Jesus Christ is identical. This is what he said in a prayer to his Father recorded by John who was present there in Jerusalem in AD 33: "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

John also reports of this man Jesus: "He came to that which was his own, but his own [whether (1) wise, (2) strong or (3) wealthy was immaterial] did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

This, then, is the summum bonum, the supreme good: to be re-born as a son or as a daughter of the Almighty Self-giving Creator.

This is the summum bonum that Jesus came to give and that some in Jersey love to boast about.
Richard Syvret

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