Day 8 in Proverbs
I really love to be around smart people. Especially people who have a lot of knowledge about something that I know little about, are passionate about it, and really good at explaining it. They make concepts that seem loftier than my brain can reach come to a place where I can almost touch them. This is how I learn best, and I do love to learn!
What’s really great is when these people are not just smart, but wise. When the knowledge is not just intellectual, but has practical applications. When they can look at your life, and advise you on something that makes it better.
Sometimes you just happen onto these sorts of people, but it’s really great when they are your friends. When they are friends who are in your life on a regular basis. When they hear you griping and complaining about one of life’s problems and come up with a solution that is simply genius.
That usually doesn’t just happen spontaneously, though it may seem as such. A few things have to fall into place. First of all, you have to figure out who the smart people are to hang around with….and actually do it. Then you have to find people who listen to what you have to say, who allow you to share your life with them, and actually key in on problems for which you are seeking solutions. They then have to be the generous sort of person who is willing to share their knowledge with you and you have to be the sort of person who really listens to what they say and put it into practice. When all this happens, it is a beautiful thing!
This 8th chapter of Proverbs once again shows us Wisdom in human form, and she says her best friend is Common Sense. (Makes me smile. Her nickname is “Wise” and my guess is that her middle name is not “Subtlety.”) Early in the chapter we have Wisdom standing at the city gate introducing herself to all that enter. Reminds me of a crazy homeless person or street preacher, so most who know me know she would probably have me running in the other direction to avoid her. Which is sometimes how I react to wisdom!
She tells us if we have understanding, we will see that her words are just what we need. We often miss wisdom because gloss over and tell ourselves all is well, whether it is or not. We overlook that we are wanting in some way…..don’t slow down long enough to figure out something is missing. For example, we are so confident in our own ability to do things “from the heart” (which is said elsewhere in scripture to be “deceptive above all things”) that we don’t want to be teachable or admit we don’t have all the answers. But to gain from the gifts of wisdom, we have to do both.
We often devalue wisdom. We disdain the wise, call them “know-it-alls.” Sometimes it is because they make us feel bad about ourselves….lacking in some way. We don’t know why we don’t like them…we just don’t!
These verses say wisdom is “worth more than precious jewels or anything else you desire.” I believe it is…..why do we often disregard its value and fight so hard for the other things?
Wisdom instructs daily visits to visit her. She has done her marketing and is not going to be a salesman who will continue to drop in on you unannounced until you finally buy the product. You have to make the effort. She’s done her part in seeking you out, now you have to balance the friendship. You have to call and order the product. You have to get to know her….and it requires a regular quantity of quality time. If you choose to spurn her, to shut her out of your life…..she will leave you to your own devices. And if you choose to spend all your time hanging out with things that are not Wise (be it your heart, your job, stupid choices, stupider people), you don’t hurt her feelings….you hurt only yourself. You’re giving up winning the lottery….and a life that will leave you wealthier than you even imagine. You’re the one killing yourself a bit with each dumb choice.
I remember taking a group of kids to DC on a missions trip a lot of years ago. When we were there we did a lot of work with the homeless. On the drive in, the kids didn’t seem to notice that there were homeless people there….or if they did, they wrinkled their noses as if there was a stench. On the way home? As we were driving down the street, they were opening the windows and yelling at them by name! They had grown to see the people beneath the label….and they now counted them as friends.
When I see Wisdom at that city gate or hanging around town, I want to recognize her as a friend…not as a homeless person or street preacher….and stop and listen to what she has to say. And I plan on asking her where she lives and if she has a guest room. If you hang out with Wisdom enough, she rubs off. You start to dress like her, to act like her. She’s that friend who listens to what we say and tells us just what we need to hear to solve every problem. Want to come to her slumber party? Personally I have a lot to learn and think she is just the friend to teach me!