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The Value of Wisdom

Wisdom is one of those things that we all inherently understand is a good thing. As soon as we learn about the concept of wisdom, we make the connection that the wise choice is the good or best option. This is reflected in how many people will make statements like I know this is not the wisest choice or something to that effect. Another universally true thing is that wisdom is not something we start with. While we inherently understand that wisdom is good, we do not begin with much of it. As a matter of fact, we often reject wisdom. An excellent example is how children, and especially teenagers, treat their parents. Rather than listening to our parents, we think of ourselves as the wise ones. Rare is the person who can look back at that time of life and believe that this attitude was truly wise.

My Son, If

At the start of Proverbs chapter two, there is a passage in which a father pleads with his son to listen and to obtain wisdom. The first five verses function as an if-then set of statements. The first four verses are the ifs: "If you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you," "If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding" (Proverbs 2:1, 3, English Standard Version). The result of all these things is that those who treasure the words of wisdom, who seek understanding and insight, "Will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:4). What I want to emphasize here is that there is something required of us to obtain wisdom. It is not something that we are born with, but something that comes from seeking it.

A Practical Example

I want you to take a second and think about your first job. For many of us, our first job was something simple. Perhaps you worked as a farmhand, or maybe you got a job at a restaurant and worked as a server. Whatever that job was, I want you to think about the attitude that you brought to it. My first job was working as a lifeguard and instructor at Boy Scout Camp. When I started working there, I thought I already knew everything I needed. Do not get me wrong, I knew that the other people had things to teach me, but my attitude was arrogant. This, unfortunately, is the attitude that many have when starting out. We have a sense of entitlement. We think they cannot treat me like that. We get a job and then immediately start complaining about the people we work for. This is the opposite of what the father in Proverbs is telling his son.

A Better Way

To continue our thought experiment, I want you to think about how much easier or more enjoyable that job might have been if you had the desire to learn, if you genuinely sought to understand, and be the best at the job you could be. To use another personal example, when I joined the Navy and got to the ship, this is what I did. I worked hard to learn and to understand. As a result, my time on the ship was much more enjoyable than many of my shipmates. Because I worked hard and gained knowledge and understanding, I did not have to do much of the menial labor that the unskilled members of the crew had to do. This is something that is true in every area of life. When we work hard and seek knowledge and understanding, the amount of busy work often decreases significantly.

Better than Hidden treasure

To return to the main point, the wisdom we must truly seek and work hard for only comes from the Lord. And the Lord is faithful to give that wisdom to those who seek him. There is always something in our lives that we are willing to put a lot of work into. Maybe it is a hobby like gardening or working on a car. Perhaps it is your family or your job. Sadly for most people, including most who claim to be Christians, the wisdom of the Lord, true wisdom, is something that is neglected. Everything else seems more important. To use C.S. Lewis's analogy,

Our desires are not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. - The Weight of Glory

We are far too satisfied by things that can never really fulfill us. We gain knowledge in things that have no meaning. Some can tell you every detail of their favorite sitcoms and yet cannot quote more than a line or two from the bible.

Seek the Lord

I wonder how much of our worldly struggle would fall away if we simply sought true wisdom with the same fervency that we sought after other things in our lives. We wonder why our Christian walk is so difficult while at the same time neglecting the gifts that God has given us to make things easier. He has given us his Word, pastors, fellow church members, and so much more. How much easier is it to work through a problem when there are others around to help? If we would seek wisdom and be faithful Christians, we must seek the Lord. We must make use of the means that he has given us. You have a bible; read it. Join a church. Be there as often as you can so that you can learn. Ask questions. Serve. Above all, seek to glorify the Lord. Seek is to glorify him in everything you do.

Soli Deo Gloria

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