Thought for Today - Wisdom

A reflection by Clare Heard at Choral Evensong, 19 October 2014

In the world today (according to Robert Short) we have:

Lots of knowledge, but little understanding.
Lots of means, but little meaning.
Lots of know-how, but little know-why.
Lots of sight, but little insight.

Or to put it more crudely; "You are only young once, but you can be immature your whole life."
In a word, what we sorely lack today is wisdom.

But do we care?

An angel appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean that in return for his unselfish and exemplary behaviour, the Lord will reward him with his choice of infinite wealth, wisdom or beauty. Without hesitating the dean selects infinite wisdom.

“Done!”  says the angel and disappears. All heads turn toward the dean who sits surrounded by a faint halo of light. At length, one of his colleagues whispers “say something”. The dean looks at then and says “I should have taken the money”.

I think this story reflects the attitude of much of society today, which places attributes such as wealth, beauty, and success considerably higher up the list of things to be aiming for in life than wisdom. In our consumerist culture, many people believe, probably mistakenly, that things such as success can bring happiness, but I’m not sure anyone thinks being wise will make us happy – and rightly so.
The proverbs reading extols us to focus on getting wisdom and insight above all else. Wisdom is to be sought and prized. This should be our first aim.

But how do we get it? What does wisdom look like?

Wisdom goes beyond it’s close cousins, knowledge, understanding, and discernment.

True wisdom is to perceive the nature of this world as created by God and to live in accord with it. In other words, wisdom is getting tuned into God's frequency for life and living in that frequency.
And how often do we try and do this in our frenetic lives? How often do we step back, reflect and listen?

Doug Larson says “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk”.

According to the Singing Bible that my children listen to…after Adam and Eve have eaten from the tree of knowledge, the song goes on to say (or rather sing)  ”but Wisdom only comes from God”.
The New Testament reading affirms this, saying that God gives us the spirit of truth, but that we must learn to know it and distinguish it from the other loud and competing voices.

In the world we live in we are constantly bombarded by voices – by media, celebrities, employers, news channels, friends and family.

We need to learn to listen out for God’s voice in the midst of this noise so that we can perceive the true nature of things and, following Christ, live a life of truth and sacrificial love. And to do this, we need to strive for wisdom.
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