Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wisdom


I have been thinking about wisdom the past few days. What got me thinking about it was an experience where smart and wise conflicted.

I have some friends who are very smart. They talk and think about things that would melt my mind. The husband has the kind of job that he can’t even explain to mere mortals. I would have to follow his explanation with a dictionary. They have the kind of smarts that translates into high income. They are very successful and very nice people. I like them a lot.

Recently they made a decision, prompted by their smarts that I thought was very unwise. That’s what made me think about the difference between being smart and being wise. I’m not saying that every decision they make is unwise and I know that I don’t act in wisdom much of the time as well.

So I’ve been thinking about what wisdom is and how we get it. Here is a basic definition of wisdom: the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight.

The first place wisdom comes from is God. Proverbs 2:6 says: For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. Colossians 2:3 says that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Study God’s word and you will find a treasure map.

Parents are a good source most of the time. Proverbs 5:1 says: My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding. Of course, there are some parents where you can learn wisdom by doing the opposite of what they do. But most of the time their life and experience has taught them a thing or two. Not all wisdom from parents comes easily. Proverbs 29:15 says: The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

We can learn a lot from the people around us. We can see the fruit of wise and unwise living. Proverbs 19:20 says: Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. We can avoid mistakes by learning from others. We don't have to learn from the school of hard knocks.

Wisdom is worth the pursuit. Proverbs 16:16: How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. Proverbs 8:11: for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. We think college and higher education are important because of the monetary reward. That’s okay but not if we neglect what is really important. I would rather have a child with wisdom that a smart dummy.

We have to want wisdom. Proverbs 10:23 warns, Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. Proverbs 28:26 says, Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. Some people are smart enough to get things done but not wise enough to do it right.

Wisdom is what we need above all else. Sell anything to get it.

Philip

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