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Wisdom is Better Than Wealth

Money is an ever-present reality of our lives. It is a necessary part of our lives, especially in modern society. It is almost impossible to live a self-sufficient, self-dependent life that does not depend on exchanging money. We need money to obtain fuel to work, secure food, or even get dressed. Because of all this, money is a significant concern. To be clear, money is not a negative thing. It is simply a means of measuring how we trade things. Put another way, money is a shortcut to exchanging our time for everything we need. For example, we all need to eat. We could take the time to plant a garden, growing things like corn, wheat, sugar beets, and all kinds of other things. All of these things take quite a bit of time. Not all of us have the time to invest in those things. Our time is spent doing other things, such as building houses or fixing cars. So, we exchange our time for currency to make transactions more efficiently. The danger comes when we start to make money more important than it should be.

Nothing is Better

Our society is set up to make wealth the most important thing in our lives. As Christians, the reality that the world wants something or is pushing us toward something should raise a red flag. The truth is that we have our priorities mixed up. Important things, like wisdom, take a back seat to wealth. Scripture teaches us that wisdom is one of the most important things for us. Proverbs, in particular, is written to make this point. In chapter three, verse fifteen, it says, "She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her." She, in this context, is wisdom and understanding. Proverbs is saying that wisdom is the best thing we can desire. It is better than wealth, comfort, luxury, or anything else. When we seek wisdom, many of those other things can come to us.

The Example of Solomon

One of the most outstanding examples of this reality is Solomon. After Solomon became king, the Lord came to him in a dream and told him to ask for anything he wanted. His response is to ask for the wisdom that would be required to rule his people well. The request itself demonstrates wisdom. We need wisdom to do anything else we want to accomplish. If we want to be good husbands or wives, we need wisdom to understand what that means. Wisdom is a foundational requirement if we want to be prosperous at work. When Solomon asks for wisdom, the Lord rewards him. God tells Solomon that because he asked for wisdom, rather than wealth or a long life, things most people desire above all else, he will be given all three. The example is not that seeking wisdom will guarantee wealth and health, but those things are often the result of seeking wisdom.

The Wisdom of Patience

To some extent, we understand that to grow in wealth, we need some amount of wisdom. This can be seen in the cultural prevalence of higher education. We see a college education as almost a requirement. After high school, the expectation is everyone should desire a degree. The thought process is that a degree is a necessary prerequisite for landing a good job. Underlying this is that a certain amount of knowledge and wisdom is required to succeed. The problem is that college, and learning in general, is seen as simply a means to an end. We are impatient to get to the wealth and attempt to get through things as quickly as possible. From elementary school all the way through the end of college, people cannot wait to finish so that they can be finally free and get on with their lives. The knowledge and wisdom that come from diligent study are not seen as something valuable in and of themselves. We are impatient for wealth. In a very real way, we show a lack of wisdom in our pursuit of knowledge.

Seek Wisdom

Proverbs 3:13-18 outlines the importance of wisdom as the most important goal we can have. "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom." "She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed." The beginning of true wisdom is the fear of the Lord. When we seek the Lord above all things, it demonstrates that we understand the importance of true wisdom. "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth." We are called, as his creation, to seek him above all. When we do this, everything else starts to fall in line. It is like a set of Ikea instructions; if you try to start with step ten, you might get something put together, but it is unlikely to be helpful. We have to start with step one. When Paul writes to the Romans, he tells them to be transformed by the renewal of their minds. The result of this transformation is that we would know the will of God. The Lord is the source of all wisdom. His will is most wise. We demonstrate our supreme foolish when we think that we know better than God. Seek wisdom. Seek the Lord. Make true wisdom the goal of your life. If we do this, it is likely that many of our other concerns will begin to fall by the wayside. At a minimum, we will have the hope we need to make it through all the trials and hardships of this life.

Soli Deo Gloria

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