“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Ronald Reagan is famous for saying many things. He had a gift for being quotable. He also had a gracious sense of humor and a winning smile when he said something to pick at his political opponents and their ideas. This combination simultaneously thrilled his supporters and infuriated his critics. One of his more memorable lines was this: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s that they know so much that just isn’t so.”
Now, if you tend to be a political conservative, you’re probably chuckling a bit. If the other side of the aisle is where you find your more comfortable home, odds are you’re thinking of all the ways that same idea applies to conservatives. And…you’re not wrong. But not for the reason you think.
We live in a day when the accumulation of facts is highly prized. The more you know, the better. In some parts of the country where you went to school and what your degree is are two of the most important facts about you. In all of this collecting of data, however, there is an element that is missing: Wisdom.
Knowing a lot of stuff isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you find yourself on the right game show, it can win you a lot of money. But knowing stuff by itself doesn’t make for a whole person. It’s like having a whole workshop full of tools. That’s great if you are generous with them with other people when they are in need, but if you don’t know how to use any of them they are not benefitting you very much at all. In fact, if you don’t know how to use any of them, your ability to be of service to other people is limited as well.
Wisdom goes deeper than mere knowledge. It is knowing what to do with that knowledge. It is understanding what is right and what is wrong paired with the ability and willingness to choose the right. Most of all, it is knowing the source of right and wrong and honoring Him appropriately.
Solomon didn’t have much to say about the accumulation of facts and figures, but he was pretty clear about the value of wisdom. Wisdom is one of the greatest prizes we can find in this life. It is more valuable than all the facts in the world. It is better than enough degrees to cook a casserole. It is worth whatever we have to sacrifice to achieve it.
And, you know this to be true in your heart if hearts just like I do. You’ve been around a person who was really intelligent but dumb as a post. All their smarts did them no lasting good because they didn’t really know what to do with them and kept making bad decisions. At the same time, you’ve been around a person with almost no formal education but who seemed to know everything and what to do with it. They always managed to know the right thing to do in a given situation. Which one of these two would you rather have in a pinch? Me too.
Wisdom is a treasure. Reach and strive for it at all costs. But, reach and strive for it in the right places. Don’t look for it where it can’t be found. And where can it be found? Solomon was clear on that as well. Wisdom begins in the fear of the Lord. When we know Him and receive Him for who He is, wisdom will begin to grow in our hearts. The more we know Him, the wiser we will be. Let’s start growing.