By The Revd. Richard Kew
Deficits are something we have been learning a lot about in recent years, and the lessons have not been easy. Financial deficits we have discovered have profound consequences. Yet the Proverbs focus our attention on the fact that living in an information-driven world there is a huge and growing surplus of knowledge, but at the same time there is a growing deficit of wisdom.
In Proverbs’ opening chapters, and in several different ways, the point is made that wisdom originates with God Almighty, and that we are only likely to find it if we take seriously what it means to be in fellowship with God. The contrast is not only drawn between the wise and the foolish, but the point is incisively driven home. “Trust the Lord with all your heart… be not wise in your own eyes… honor the Lord with your wealth… do not despise the Lord’s discipline” (Proverbs 3:5-11), and so forth.
There seems to be an echo of these words in Galatians 6, where Paul, drawing upon his own wisdom from above, challenges us to consider our lives to be fields where seed is sown: is it seed whose crop is corruption, or is it seed fertilized by the wisdom of the Spirit, enabling us to reap crops that are from God and bear fruit from time into eternity? Are our lives sowing the wind or the whirlwind?
Having asked us to think in these terms he then leads us to the cross in the last paragraph of his letter. The fear of the Lord might be the beginning of wisdom, but we meet Wisdom incarnate and personified in Jesus, at the foot of his cross and where the stone is rolled away from the empty tomb.
1. If the source of wisdom is the triune God, then why are Christian so often so unwise, even stupid, and sometimes worse?
2. Which of the images or saying about Wisdom make the most sense to you from Proverbs 1-3?
Lord God, give me the wisdom that comes from walking faithfully in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Amen
The Revd. Richard Kew, Development Director and noted author, Ridley Hall, Cambridge, England.