Developing Wisdom – Where Can Wisdom be Found?

The list for developing wisdom might possibly include reading, encountering new experiences, extended education, befriending wise people, and even travel. There is a common notion that wisdom can be sourced through people or the world around us. Such a quest echoes Job’s words, “Where can wisdom be found?”

“But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.”
Job 28:12

If Job is right, we may see elements of wisdom in the writings of the wise, gain increased perspective from a variety of experiences, people, cultures and study, but wisdom will not be found in the world around us.  What is more, Job believes we underestimate its core value.

Wisdom Albert Einstein

For What It’s Worth

The preceding verses of Job 28 explain in detail the depths people go to reveal earth’s “treasures” of precious metals and gems. In the darkest recesses,

“people assault the flinty rock with their hands…”
Job 28:9

I’ve never been a miner searching for gold or diamonds, but I have had my share of swinging a hammer to chisel against “flinty rock”. In one of my not-so-wise moments, I decided to make a flagstone path between one farm house and another in our yard.

My Dad showed me the proper tools and technique. Now it was up to me to search the rock piles on our farm and beyond to find the right rock, the flinty rock, that would yield to the not-so-subtle persuasion of hammer and chisel. It took persisting through summer’s heat, enduring back-breaking labour to split, haul and set each stone. All for flinty rock!

Build your home on wisdom!

I did it though — for the sake of a path!

This is an unworthy comparison to the efforts taken to uncover “precious” metals and gemstones. Am I willing to make such effort for wisdom? Will I seek wisdom with similar determination?

If I value wisdom, I will!

Why the Effort?

“The beginning of wisdom is this:
Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have,
get understanding.”
Proverbs 4:7

If I don’t correctly assess the true value and benefit of wisdom, I will give up before finding it. Why should one make the effort?

Wise mind - wise speech!

Here’s a few valid reasons found within Proverbs 4 and 8 alone. Wisdom will

  • protect and watch over you
  • exalt and honour you, giving you a garland and a crown
  • provide “riches and honour, enduring wealth and prosperity
  • give a “rich inheritance to those who love” it

Solomon says the benefits of wisdom

“..are better than gold, even the purest gold,
my wages better than sterling silver.”
Proverbs 8:19

Where Can Wisdom be Found?

Since Job’s companions were lacking in wisdom, Job answers his own question,

God understand the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells.”
Job 28:23

“…The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom…”
Job 28:28

Job throws in a bonus giving us both the “where” and the “how” of wisdom’s source. Is there an easier way? Another way? Any other way? Isn’t “fear of the Lord” outdated — archaic?

Wisdom - John Bunyan

Solomon, the wisest man that lived, emphatically confirms,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10

James acknowledges there is, in fact, a kind of “wisdom” to be gained now from the things around us. He warns that such “earthly wisdom” will eventually produce the unexpected results of bitter envy, selfish ambition, disorder and every evil practice. We don’t have to look far to see ample evidence of this principle at work.

“Such “wisdom”…is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.”
James 3:15

Billy Graham - wisdom

He, too, points our vision upward to the ultimate Source of all wisdom.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven
is first of all pure; then peace-loving,
considerate, submissive,
full of mercy and good fruit,
impartial and sincere.”
James 3:17

This is wisdom worth taking hammer and chisel too, worth pursuing with all diligence and effort, worth seeking and holding on to at all cost. Don’t you agree?

But How do You Gain Wisdom?

Paul draws us to a centrality that neither Job nor Solomon had the privilege of experiencing.  In writing to the Christians at Colossae, Paul says,

The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:15-16

D.L. Moody wisdom quote

Paul persistently laboured so that everyone might know Jesus Christ, because in Him

“…are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Colossians 2:3

Splitting flinty rock won’t expose the greatest treasure available. Wisdom is discovered, granted and given to all those who are willing to pursue the vastness, beauty, magnificence and wisdom within the invisible God, made visible through Christ. Through a vibrant relationship with Wisdom, and here alone, does one become wise.

Simple Advice

The people who now walk that little garden path will never know the hours of labour it took to transform flinty rock into usefulness. Thousands of steps have skipped, jumped and hopped along that little winding trail.

In the same way, as one looks to only earthly sources for wisdom, one is tempted to skip, jump and hop from one good read, piece of advice, speaker, preacher and scholar to another without truly gaining the depth of wisdom and understanding available.

Fortunately, many people seek wisdom; unfortunately most people search in an array of earthly and psychic realms.

Here is simple and sure advice from James,

“If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God, who gives generously
to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.”
James 1:5

Let us confidently and boldly ask for wisdom to saturate our lives, resting in His Presence, seeking His face, knowing Him more, and somehow moment by moment becoming more like Him in wisdom.

Chesterton Quote

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Further Reading:

Is there a Wrong Way to do The Right Thing? Attitude Makes All The Difference

 

 

 

 

Worth, Benefit, Profit, or Value? Is It Worth it? Jesus is Worth It!

Missions

Is it worth it? This is a question we commonly ask when weighing the cost of a particular decision.  The “it” we are referring to when we pose this question can refer to a number of different things, such as our time, our money, our strength, our safety or our comfort.  We weigh the potential gain against the necessary risk to determine if we deem something to be “worth it”, and decide accordingly.

Is it Worth it?

I remember telling a family member about our plans to do YWAM in 2012.  Their response sort of shocked me.  After sharing with them all the details of what we’d be doing, they matter of factly said “well that’s a waste”.

It was during our time with YWAM that I first heard of missionaries who were serving in in the Middle East, and initially, I too was disinterested, and my heart was unmoved.  I thought “who would want to go there?

Lamp

Often when we first tell people about our plans to move to the Middle East, they have a similar reaction; an unmoved heart that questions whether what we’re doing is really worth it.

“Foolishness!”

“You’re going to waste your life in a country where many people will reject you and the message you are there to share?”

“That’s foolish!”

“A waste!”

Middle East

 

A Beautiful Thing

The disciples had the same reaction to a young woman when she poured her alabaster jar of costly perfume on to Jesus the week before he would be crucified.

Indignant, they said, “Why such waste? This perfume could have been sold and given to the poor!

When a room full of disciples, the very men who would establish the early church, looked down upon a young woman for what they saw as foolish devotion, Jesus does not stay silent.

He says “what she has done is a beautiful thing to Me”. 

And then the Son of God goes on to commemorate her act of extravagant devotion in saying that wherever the gospel is preached, so should the story of what Mary has done be told.

So then, is it worth it for us to move to there?  Is it worth it to leave the relative safety and comfort of Canada for the Middle East? What about spending years learning a new language and adapting to a foreign culture? Is it worth it?  Is it worth it to be thousands of miles apart from loved ones?

Middle East

No, it isn’t.  “It” is not worth it.

Then what motivates us to go?

It isn’t the need for workers, it’s not rules or commands, not our own compassion, nor is it statistics, or even a miraculous call.  All of these reasons have validity and play a part in why we are going, but none of the reasons above will be able to sustain or fulfill us.

Jesus is Worth It

We are going because our hearts are gripped by the realization that Jesus is worth it. 

He is worth it.  

We all have a choice to make when it comes to following Jesus.  Like the rich young ruler in the book of Matthew, we can choose to hold on to our treasure or follow Jesus.  That treasure will vary for each of us, but one thing is certain – if it is anything other than Jesus, we must lay it down to follow Him, for “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21).

Is it Worth It? Middle East

Give it Away

We can choose to hold on to something inferior to Christ and walk away sad and dejected, or we can believe that He is worth more than anything we could gain in life, and more precious and valuable than anything we could lose in death.

I want to be like the man who found a treasure in a field, then joyfully went and sold all that he had to buy the field.  I want to be like Mary, who upon realizing the worth of Jesus liquidated her inheritance as she poured expensive perfume over his head.

What has Jesus been calling you to give?

Go ahead, give it away.  You’ll find out that He truly is worthy of it all.

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(Posted with adaptations from A & A who are leaving for the Middle East within the next few months. If you would like to support them prayerfully or financially contact them @ ourambition@outlook.com )

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Here is another great blog!

The Ends of the Earth! No Small Task – Salvation to all Nations