Pieces - Wisdom

Proverbs 3:13-23 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, (14) for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. (15) She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. (16) Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. (17) Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. (18) She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed. (19) The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; (20) by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. (21) My son, do not lose sight of these-- keep sound wisdom and discretion, (22) and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. (23) Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.




When I was in third grade, I too received a Bible. I KNEW it was a book of importance but I didn’t UNDERSTAND that it was a book of influence. It didn’t come with the extra helps and thought provoking studies. It was just a plain Bible. At least, as a third grader that is what I thought.

A New York art enthusiast had a good collection of paintings, one of them being the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which hung over his writing desk.
Every morning, he noticed that it persisted in hanging crooked despite the fact that he straightened it every morning. At last he asked the housekeeper if she was responsible for its lopsided position each morning that he came to his office.
"Why, yes," she said, "I have to hang it crooked to make the tower hang straight."
Does that sound strange? That is exactly how a lot of people read the Bible, like it is some plain book that can be edited to say whatever we might like. We need to be sure to hang the picture right.

One who has treated the Bible right, I have mentioned before, John Wesley, and not just because it was John Wesley who was the Anglican pastor instrumental in the start of the Methodist movement. Wesley wrote that he was a man of one book – the Bible. And it was this book that provided the foundation. It was this book that provides the wisdom to become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Because of his precise study of the Bible and how he lived it, John Wesley looked at religion different. Where others looked at the pieces of the puzzle: music – preaching – buildings – influence – money – people; Wesley saw the whole picture. He saw where the pieces fit. He once said, “The world is my parish” and what he meant was – The World Is My Mission. It was this vision – of seeing the pieces fitting together with a MISSION that turned a revolution in England into a revival.

The writer of Proverbs understands the importance of wisdom maybe better than any other writer in the Bible after all, proverbs express wisdom. But it isn’t just any wisdom, here in these words, wisdom comes alive; designed to influence not just be important.

Solomon was the richest of Israel’s kings and the wisest. If anyone had a chance to compare and contrast the value of money versus wisdom it would Solomon. He contrasts the value of wisdom, and for Solomon, gaining wisdom far exceeded the benefits of money. The question is no longer what will someone do for buck but what won’t someone do? The world around has never given wisdom credit – power, athleticism, money all are celebrated. This ought to help us keep perspective – If everyone is doing it – should we? Ask yourself, do I share Solomon's high estimation of the value of wisdom? Does Crossroads?

But the value of wisdom isn’t just measured by our thoughts and ideas. Don’t let it be said God doesn’t value wisdom. Verses 19 and 20 put an end to that. It was wisdom that God used in designing and forming all of creation. Solomon’s implication in Old Testament is in keeping with the New Testament in James’ letter when he writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (6) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6) Ask yourself, do you want the same wisdom guiding your life? Do you want it guiding Crossroads?

Now ask, who wouldn’t like some security in the midst of this life? Who wouldn’t want to walk securely? Who wouldn’t want to sleep soundly? If so, then it is wisdom we are to pursue.
The book our young people received today contains all knowledge sufficient for salvation but it must be pursued. Wisdom must be what is desired more than all else. The pursuit of wisdom points us to Jesus Christ. Paul understood this connection when he wrote to the church at Colossians when he told them, “I want you to know how hard I work for you, for the people of Laodicea, and for people I have never met. Because they are united in love, I work so that they may be encouraged by all the riches that come from a complete understanding of Christ. He is the mystery of God. God has hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. (Col 2:1-3)

During the early days of the Methodist Church in the United States, one Methodist pastor said these simple words, “I am a Methodist and so I am a missionary.” Those were words from one who was pursuing wisdom and understood it as a piece to the whole puzzle. And just as pastors are sent to pursue Jesus, so are all followers but it is done together – as a whole – not pieces.

Practically speaking, wisdom is best pursued together. The writer of Hebrews said -
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (10:24-25). As a new church, this first summer is important for us and it is in keeping with wisdom for us to not neglect meeting together.

As a church, we must pursue wisdom and that means following where Jesus Christ leads – the world is our mission. What about your mission? Will you pursue wisdom by following Jesus Christ?

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