Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wisdom, Fools and Gold

How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!  And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.  Proverbs 16:16

I count 49 times that the word wisdom is used in the book of Proverbs.  It is used many more times in the bible.  Wisdom is so much more important than mere knowledge - or gold and silver.  Wisdom is the ability to take knowledge and apply it to a given situation or to many different situations.  It is essential for life, and it is essential for eternal life.  Fools despise wisdom (Prov. 1:7).
Wisdom does not see the world in black and white.  It doesn't see Scripture in black and white.  It realizes nuance.  It takes differences into account.  It treats similar situations differently.  It requires constant thinking and judging of circumstances.  It treats fools in different ways:
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him.  Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes.  Proverbs 26:4-5
Wisdom does not buy into a one-size-fits-all mentality.  It does not reduce life to formulas.  It results in different strategies and ministries.  Those results can even appear to be polar opposites:
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, "He has a demon!"  The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, "Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!"  Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.  Luke 7:33-35
One of the reasons I have such a problem with fundamentalist type of thinking is that it often sets wisdom aside for a broad brush stroke in black and white.  Nuance is ignored and is often accused of being an excuse for not doing things "the biblical way," whatever way they think that happens to be.
Solomon forsook gold to gain wisdom, and God gave him both.  May God's people pursue wisdom.

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