The Gift of Wisdom, Part 1

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, if you call out for insight, and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…..Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”  Proverbs 2:1-6; 9-10

This is taken from my husband’s sermon on the gift of wisdom and used with his permission.

It’s reported that the most beautiful church ever built in the ancient world was named the church of the Hagia Sophia—the Church of Holy Wisdom found in Constantinople. Reports from multiple visitors spoke of the awesome character of the building, the beauty of the services held there, the sense of the presence of the living God that was palpable to everyone. Russian visitors said they were so impressed that they didn’t know if they were in heaven or on earth. No one will ever write such things about our little church. But one thing we hope that could be said of St. Paul’s just as well as they said of the great cathedral in the east—therein was found the holy wisdom of God.

Discussion of wisdom, holy wisdom, is found throughout the Scriptures, but is most evident in some of the Old Testament writings, especially in Psalms and Proverbs. Indeed these 2 books are part of what is generally called Wisdom writings, along with Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, and, occasionally the book of Job. Jesus also speaks of the people of God having wisdom as do the writers of the epistles in the New Testament. The people of God are called upon to be wise, not just in the ways of the world, but wise in the wisdom that comes from God.

In the reading above from Proverbs Solomon calls upon us to be attentive to wisdom, to seek it out as a greedy person seeks wealth or as a vain person seeks attention from others. But the type of wisdom Solomon discusses is not wisdom of worldly things. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians that Greeks—worldly people—seek after wisdom. But the wisdom they seek is how to get the most they can from this world. How you can be admired and feted by others and how you can accumulate the things of this life, that is the sort of wisdom the pagans seek out. The search for self betterment is pagan. All of those books in the self help aisles of book stores and self help programs on TV, they are all about seeking a good pagan life style. But for us, the search for the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life in Christ—that is wisdom sought by us and by all believers.

 

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A Word of Blessing

According to John Trent in his book, The Blessing, encouraging and loving words are also an important component of blessing.  The Bible speaks over and over about the importance of our words:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”  Proverbs 25:11

“if we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.  Look at ships also;  though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also, the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.”  James 3:3-5

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue …” Proverbs 18:21a

The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance by [Trent, John, Smalley, Gary]

Words can help or hurt;  they can guide;  they can change the course of a life.  Yet often, we say the wrong words, or even no words to the people we love and others around us.  Why?  There are many excuses:  We’re busy, we’re tired, we don’t want them to become vain or puffed up, or they already know we appreciate and value them.

How much effort does it take to say, “Good job!”  or “I love you” or “Thank you for all that you do.”  Don’t make excuses;  speak a word of blessing to someone today.