Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Thought for Wednesday 2 November 2016

“Get wisdom, get insight; do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.  Do not forsake [wisdom], and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.  The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight.  Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you will embrace her.  She will place on your head a fair garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown” (Proverbs 4:5-9 NRSV).

So “the beginning of wisdom” is to “get wisdom”?  Well, if I were wise, would I not already be in possession of wisdom?  Not quite, because it is also written, “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7a).  This may be a polite way of suggesting to us that if we believe ourselves to be wise, we may be fooling only ourselves; and consequently, cheating ourselves out of one of The Lord’s most precious gifts. 

We all probably know some incredibly smart, very well-educated persons who know a lot of stuff and have read a lot of books.  Here’s the thing about wisdom, though; all the knowledge in the world is useless if we do not know how to use that knowledge.  And if that knowledge we do have we believe to be for our own personal gain primarily or exclusively, we are still trying to balance on a two-legged stool.

There are a lot of ways in which to be wise, especially as we try to navigate this crazy world!  Worldly wisdom, however, does not quite do if we only know how to beat others at their own game – again – for our own personal gain or amusement.  The wisdom of what is written in the Scriptures teaches us much more than “how to get to heaven”.  Indeed, if this is all we are looking for, well, we may consider that true wisdom cannot exist in such a shallow pond.  There is much more.

Jesus teaches more than once that those who “exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted”.   Humility is a constant reminder to us that we simply are not “all that”.  We can indeed learn a great deal from well-educated teachers, but the best teachers also realize they can learn a great deal from their students.  Those who possess true wisdom can reach only one irrefutable conclusion: there is always more to learn.  And we learn by listening and observing; never by talking and certainly not by arguing.

Let wisdom in, and we will find treasures we never dreamed existed.  We will indeed find a “way to heaven” in our quest, but we will also discover more about ourselves, one another, and our God when our minds and hearts are open.  For there is a profound difference between “facts” which come from knowledge, and “Truth” which can come only from wisdom.

The Lord is great, is He not?


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