Trust in Him

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Profit of Wisdom

Man believes with his heart and so he is justified.
He confesses with his lips and so he is saved.
In the beginning of his speech the just man is his own accuser.

(Romans 10:10-12)

Oftentimes, while Jesus was speaking to the crowds, people would ask: what must I do to be saved? Jesus' answers varied... but the most significant of His replies was: sell all you have, and come follow Me. What does it mean to follow Christ? Certainly it means to obey His Law, to listen to His Word with open hearts, and to follow His example... but perhaps the most important thing to remember is that following Christ is walking in the ways of wisdom.

What does wisdom mean? By definition, wisdom is the quality of understanding. If one is wise, he has insight into the ways of God and seeks to follow them. For instance, the treasure in the field. If this treasure is wisdom, then the man who sells all he owns to gain this one treasure knows that, with this treasure, he can gain far more than he had before. It is wiser to sell all for a future gain far above our current means than to stay stupidly in the security of our possessions. One who is wise is not afraid to have faith, for he knows that only through faith can he come to greater understanding.

I have loved wisdom more than health or beauty,
and I preferred her more than the light of day.
All good things came to me in her company.
(Wisdom 7:10-11)

But what does it mean to be wise? One who seeks wisdom is never filled, but always recognizes that there is more to fill him. One who is wise will not disregard God's word, nor the advice of teachers, because his insight stretches even to knowledge of those things he does not know and he accepts that he has far more to learn. One who is wise will keep prayer at the center of his learning, so his wisdom is not soiled with untruth.

If we are wise, our actions also pertain to keeping and gaining wisdom. The words that we speak are not silly or foolish, but they are edifying and genuine. At work, we are efficient and industrious. At play, our enjoyment is real and not strained. In our dealings with others, we are honest, for it is better to make friends than foes. If we are wise, we seek discipline in our day to day lives. If we are wise, we never cease to study and we delight in listening. If we are wise, we praise God untiringly because we understand that God is deserving of praise. If we are wise, then we accuse ourselves of our own faults when when we see the faults of others. Wisdom is humble and does not boast, except of the glories of God.

But wisdom should not be sought in excess, because wisdom itself implies that one must accept his own littleness and rejoice in the far more infinite wisdom of God. If we seek to know and understand everything, we will find ourselves confused and overturned, for this is not wisdom. Truly, if we have been so silly so as to drink more from the fount of knowledge than is rightfully ours to drink, then the first sip of its waters went straight through us and we were not nourished by it. Wisdom is not knowledge, it is understanding... understanding of how we are to grow and reach God. If one is wise, he will never rise out of his childhood and will constantly, but meekly, be asking for a little more.

I, wisdom, dwell with experience,
and judicious knowledge I attain.
(Proverbs 8:12)

Those who have wisdom are like those who throw in their lot with an unknown king that they know will soon come to power. The world is not wise, but wisdom is eternal. Although all earthly knowledge will pass away and be nothing, wisdom herself knows, in prudence, that infinity will provide for her the greatest happiness and fulfillment. Unlike we who live in time and often cannot see beyond the present, wisdom looks on God's hand in the past and secures for herself His aid for the future, thus finding a more perfect prudence in One who is not bound by time.

It is important to consider wisdom in both seeking our vocations and preparing for Lent. Why? Because we cannot find fulfillment without wisdom, and we cannot conform our lives to that which is best without wisdom either. We need to recognize what God is trying to teach us through wisdom and pursue it. Truly, wisdom is the ability to learn without it we cannot really get anywhere in our search. Wisdom is the disposition to ask and if we do not have this disposition, we will not ask, and will not receive God's help. Wisdom is the motive for finding fulfillment and without wisdom, we do not even desire what will make us happy. Do not take for granted the immensity of our need for wisdom, and never forget where the Fountain of Wisdom is found.

Wisdom has built herself a house,
she has set up seven pillars;
she has prepared her wine and spread her table.
(proverbs 9:1-2)

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