“I was stuck.”
And it wasn’t in the mud. Mine was a situation I’d never encountered as a pastor and I’d no earthly nor heavenly idea how to make a move in it. It would be fair to say I was paralyzed by not even being able to wrap my head around the next step—and which direction that would be.
But I remembered a professor of mine whose class I’d just taken. We’d connected because of a few common interests so I took the chance and reached out to him for counsel. He not only was willing to offer me advice and support, he was excited to do so.
Thus, began a very rewarding process for me of gleaning of his decades of pastoral experience. Suddenly, I wasn’t stuck anymore. His wisdom became my wisdom. His experience became mine.
Have you someone like that in your life? Is there someone whose very perception and “look” tells you they are a valuable person in your life? In today’s passage, Ecclesiastes 8:1, King Solomon reflects a bit on those types of people and in doing so offers us a challenge to become them.
Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things?
A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance.
Ecclesiastes 8:1, NIV
This proverb, tucked as an introduction to this next section, proclaims that which we observe daily: wisdom (or a lack of it!) shows even on a person’s face. Think about that when you look in the mirror!
The “hard appearance” Solomon mentions probably refers to obstinate arrogance: the tight-lipped, squinty-eyed, excessive overconfidence someone lacking wisdom shows in their ignorance of a subject for which they are self-assured they have mastered. We’ve all seen it; if we’re honest, we’ve been “that person” too.
In a similar facial expression, wisdom can also make you gloomy. If we focus on wise assessments of situations, we may find ourselves with such a pessimistic outlook on life we’d be depressed. For example, one might say, “Our incomes are higher today than ever before.” A wise person interjects, “Because the dollar is weaker than ever before.” Wise? Yes. But potentially depressing.
Solomon won’t let us think wisdom leads us to a depressed, fatalist view of life. Wisdom can brighten the appearance because of what it bestows. If “the fear of the Lord is beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7a), then someone who is wise recognizes God’s sovereignty over all of creation and finds assurance in His wisdom and power.
Likewise, someone who is wise is always aware that knowledge and wisdom can be gained from a great many of interactions and encounters. The softness and attentiveness on their face demonstrate respect for others around them and a curiosity that is difficult to mask. They are always learning, always asking, always curious. In many ways, wise people keep a childlike wonder about the world and life.
When things are bad in life, it is not to the fool we turn our attention. It is the wise. We turn to those who can offer the “explanation of things”. We rest in the experience these sages have acquired by walking through life but also by observing the nature of life.
So who is like the wise? No one else. Having someone with wisdom in your life is such a phenomenal blessing. I would venture to say it is an untapped resource in our lives.
This dear brother in Christ and ministry who helped me might not ever know how much I value him. Certainly, I’ve told him, but words seem inadequate.
May we all seek to grow in wisdom so that we may be (and become) the blessing of bright, calming, and pleasant encouragement to those around us. And as we grow in that wisdom, may we see those possessing this wisdom all around us and not only make use of their wisdom, but show true gratitude for the value they bring to our lives.
Looking forward to catching up. Had coffee with your buddy Randy Moon yesterday and it was very wonderful and refreshing.
I have been surrounding myself with wisdom as a wonderful friend of mine, Pete Wonder gave me a fantastic scripture last weekend but continues to show me that God is providing it!
Also gleaned some from visiting my peeps at Escalon church .. ECC
Experiencing some amazing progress in miracles in the Lord and that he is showing me how to thrive and not just survive! I Can’t wait to do lunch and explain more sometime.
We must also be careful that we are surrounding ourselves not necessarily with some of the seemingly correct wisdom that comes from friends like Job’s and has some merit to it.. but is not entirely pertinent to your situation nor contextual or complete from one scripture in the Bible. We must look at as you well know, the context of the scripture in the paragraph, the verse, the book, the audience, what the whole Bible has to say about the rest of it, how God shows us that it pertains to our situation in our lives as his word is always pertinent and he is always showing us the clarity of it with guards to what that means in the moment and situation we are in regardless of what it is.
The Bible is gods breathed and accurate word for yesterday today and tomorrow, but if we read it out of context, or consult the entirety of his revelation, we will continue not to be one church.
He calls us to be one, in unity, in Christ!!
Love you guys,
PS. Making so much more impact out in the world, not of the world, but not spending most of my time behind the computer as I have in many jobs including some Pastoral! BTW I absolutely love the local church. In fact, our outreach home group movement is now sending people to the local church as well as training them simply to enjoy developing nurturing and developing their OIKOS, or sphere of influence, as we know relationally, that is the best way to influence others with our Christian lives and message. I am meeting more people at the local coffee shops and hanging out with my family and friends all over the country in my mobile ministry RV at hotels in The local car dealerships and when when buying a new family car for ministry, and sharing more of the love of God with all men simply by being kind, sharing his love, and when necessary, using those actions and words, to cross the bridge to our Lord and Savior!
Let’s all work together toward his wonderful girl and great condition. A kingdom divided will fall, but we know the end of the story. The church will not. Therefore let us be that which God calls us to be in Christ, working hand-in-hand with his wisdom, whether Pastor, Pharisee, Saducee, tax collector, all sinners, all in need of a doctor as not one of us is well or righteous! Grace, and more grace for all!
Groups in your area popping up soon!
oops. Must read more carefully before posting. Somebody teach me how to edit when leaving a comment after I have clicked post please ha ha.
The correction is for my comment on Joel’s wisdom post is that we absolutely need to consult the entirety of God’s revelation in his word..and deed, including all wisdom he created for us to enjoy . he says that all things including our lives as we consult and follow the life of Jesus our creator, Savior and Sustainer help us interpret God’s wisdom in His general and specific revelation and it all coherently works and makes perfect sense for all time!
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