Any Wisdom is From God – in Spite of Myself

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As I crossed the bridge to Saint Simons Island, I glanced at the mirror and saw a police car following me. I checked my speed, saw it was ok, and continued on. The next time I checked the mirror, the police car’s lights were flashing. I looked to see if I could move over and let him go around. Obviously, he was after someone and I was in his way.

When I figured out that he had several opportunities to go around but didn’t, I also figured out that I was the  target of his lights! By that time, we were down the backside of the bridge so there was space to pull over – which I did.

Since I wasn’t speeding, I assumed there was a brake light out or something like that. I rolled down the window as he walked up and said good morning. He made a comment about my coming from Bulloch County (I guess he read the tag) and asked to see my driver’s license. After reviewing it, he made a couple more comments about Bulloch County and asked where I was headed. Then he took my license and went back to his patrol car.

He returned and said he pulled me over because I didn’t have my headlights on in the fog. I nodded my head and silently agreed it had been foggy earlier in the morning. I had my headlights on the entire 105 miles from Bulloch County until I stopped for a cup of coffee a couple of miles before the bridge. When I came out, the fog was pretty much gone so I left them off.

I also didn’t mention that I was among the majority crossing the bridge that didn’t have headlights on. He graciously gave me only a warning ticket and I graciously accepted it and headed on.

I wondered why he stopped me. I’m confident he was observant enough to see that only a few vehicles had their headlights on at that time. So, for some reason, he needed an excuse to pull me over. Maybe, considering his comments about Bulloch County, there was some connection with that. Or, it could be they were looking for a small red pickup truck. Perhaps he just thought I looked like I was doing something wrong. Another something I’ll never know.

Reflecting on the encounter, I see that my tongue could have gotten me in big trouble. An argument that pointed out all the other vehicles without headlights on might not have been taken well. Impatience could have caused problems, too. I doubt he would have been willing to go with a warning ticket to someone who began giving all the reasons he was in a hurry to go. So, I do thank the Holy Spirit for leading me in what to say and not say, and do and not do as a Christian. And, I’m thankful that I paid attention to Him (I wish I did that every time.)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

Any wisdom is only by the grace of God – in spite of myself.

Pursue Wisdom

English: The Wisdom of Solomon, by James Jacqu...

The Wisdom of Solomon

This is part of the ChristianWriters.com blog chain, with the June theme of “Pursuit”. Please check out the list to the right for other blogs during the month.

Sharon and I were checking out the furniture before the auction. As we walked through the aisles, she noticed a beautiful oak chest-of-drawers. She called me over to see it and let me know she loved it. Of course, since she loved it, I did too – so, we decided to bid on it and determined what our maximum bid could be.

About an hour into the auction, they took the chest to the front of the room. Sharon squeezed my arm and whispered, “There it is!”

The bidding started and we let a couple of rounds go by before we jumped in. The bids were lower and slower than we expected and were still much below our planned price. I made a bid that was countered by a slightly higher one. We looked at each other, and since we were still well within our limit, I raised the bid.

We waited excitedly as the seconds ticked by with no other response – then, really got excited when we heard “sold”. The chest was ours for half the cost we thought it would be!

We relaxed and settled back triumphantly to watch more of the auction. The helpers at the front picked up a chest and walked away with it. Then, two others picked up “our” chest and moved it to the center. The auctioneer started with “now, we have this beautiful oak chest – what am I bid?”

I stood up and started to shout, “Wait, we just bought that one!”, but quickly deduced the mistake was ours. We had not been paying attention through most of the auction, and now realized “our” oak chest had been in the waiting area where the items coming up next were set.

We hadn’t even noticed the chest that really was now ours. I had to go walk through the aisles of sold stuff and search for our number. I found a plain pine chest of drawers – probably worth what we paid for it, but we had no desire to take it home. We left it there on consignment to be sold at the next auction.

The results of the waylaid process were:

  • The pine chest sold at the next auction, but when they took the seller’s fee out, we lost money.
  • The oak chest sold for about twice what we said we could afford to pay for it, so our plan wasn’t realistic from the beginning.
  • We learned the lesson that we need to be sure what we’re bidding on before we jump in.

Our pursuit of the chest had gone astray, and it was obvious a pursuit of wisdom would have served us better.

Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore, get wisdom…” Proverbs 4:7 NKJV

We spend much of our lives pursuing knowledge – through school, workshops, reading, and training at work or elsewhere. That’s not a bad thing, because knowledge is necessary for what we need and want to do.

The Bible has several passages that emphasize the importance of knowledge. But, as critical as it is, knowledge isn’t an end in itself. As the verse above states, we should take knowledge and move beyond it to wisdom – wisdom is to be our principal pursuit.

It takes wisdom to understand that we need knowledge, and to determine what knowledge we need. It takes wisdom to understand how to use knowledge. A great example of that is Ephesians 4:15 where Paul encourages us to speak the truth in love. Speaking the truth is knowledge. Speaking it in love is wisdom.

It is wise to understand that having more wisdom would be helpful. (As I get older, I am getting wiser, if only because I can see how much more wisdom I need). Like King Solomon, who showed that God had already given him some wisdom – he had enough to know he needed to ask for more.

Where does wisdom come from? God does use situations (like auctions) to help us learn wisdom. But, the principal place for us to pursue wisdom is in God’s Word, for it is wisdom. Getting wisdom, as stated in the Proverbs verse above, is learning, understanding and obeying God’s Word.

The auction experience did make Sharon and me wiser (at a cost of money and embarrassment). But, a better way to pursue wisdom isn’t through experience. King David wrote in Psalm 119:98-100, that God, through His commandments, had made him wiser than his enemies. Meditating on God’s testimonies and obeying God’s precepts gave him more understanding than his teachers or his elders.

Then in that same passage, we are given instructions on how we should be guided, not just in our pursuit of wisdom, but in all our pursuits here on earth:

Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” Psalms 119:105

Pursue wisdom by the light of God’s Word.