Few things are more important than the acquisition of wisdom. I was reminded of this early in my ministry. A respected businessman and faithful member of our church made an impromptu visit that proved to be both memorable and helpful.
The man was a board member and would occasionally come to inquire about something or discuss ministry. This time seemed different. He was a busy man, but on this occasion he seemed pensive and in no hurry to leave.
Our first child had just been born and a photo of our little boy was on my desk. He made a favorable comment about the picture and mentioned what an honor it is to be blessed with children.
Finally he sat up straighter and I supposed he was about to share what he had come for. “I just bought my wife a new washer and dryer,” he said. “Were the old ones worn out?” I asked. “No, they were still working fine.” I was becoming suspect that he was going to try to sell me the old ones.
He continued, “Pastor, I think our new washer and dryer are a lot like wisdom…when we had children and a lot of laundry, we had a little spin dryer; we sure could have used the automatic washer and dryer we just bought. Now we have just a little bit of laundry and we have this new set with a much greater capacity.
In a similar fashion, now that we are older, we have gained a degree of wisdom, but we needed it so much more when we were trying to raise the children.”
We spent the next half hour discussing the matter of wisdom. As best as I can recall, we came to the following conclusions:
We all tend to lack wisdom and while experience comes from what we encounter in life, wisdom is gained primarily from hardships and failures we encounter as we live.
God is the source of wisdom, the Bible is the primary resource for wisdom and a reverential respect for God is the beginning of wisdom (James 1:5; 3:13-17 and Proverbs 9:10 respectively).
Next, we decided that if anyone reads from the Old Testament book of Proverbs each day (Proverbs mentions wisdom 56 times and contains 31 chapters; one for each day of the month) their wisdom would increase.
Finally, we determined that if a person truly possesses wisdom, it will be revealed in a practical, wholesome, Christian lifestyle.
“Are any of you wise or sensible? Then show it by living right and by being humble and wise in everything you do” (James 3:13).
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church