Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who is Wise and Understanding?

Our culture is all accelerating test scores and accumulating degrees. We fret over FCATs, SATs, ACTs, and IQ's. We parcel out esteem in proportion to the number of degrees a person holds. Someone once said, "We know more and more about less and less, soon we will know everything about nothing"!

I am not knocking education at all. We are called to love God with all our mind! But we seem to think that education is next to godliness. We all know people who are theologically right in all the wrong ways.

When God assesses how wise and understanding a person is, the criteria is not a standardized test, but a life well lived. And this has always been the case. This week I discovered a clue to wisdom and understanding in a surprising place - Deuteronomy 4:5-8

"See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?"

Do you see what the Lord is saying? Wisdom and understanding are measured by lives lived in the ways of the Lord! God's commands are not a rigid set of restrictions, but a path to true wisdom and understanding. We gauge wisdom by the way we our lives, as pleasing to the Lord. What does that look like? Read the words of Jesus' little brother:

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." James 3:17

That's sounds like a pretty good life to me. So if you want to grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding then pick up a good solid book and read a bit (nothing wrong with that!). But then put it down and go sow some peace in all your relationships! (James 3:18)

The well wisher of your soul's happiness,

Pastor Tom

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