Sunday, May 8, 2016

Seek It Like Silver

One of my favorite books as a child was Anne of Green Gables. I carry many parts of this book with me as an adult. I think of Matthew and Marilla every time I hear the words “brown sugar” and often call my dearest friends “kindred spirits.” Anne taught me that asking questions was good and daring to answer questions was even better.

In this book a delightful question is posed by Anne and that question, for the first time in my short life, made me think philosophically (I was also reading The Babysitters Club, so this was not a common occurrence). Anne asks:

“Which would you rather be if you had the choice--divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”

My ten year old self (being the good, church-going girl I was) thought: I’d really like to say pretty, but I guess I need to say good. Because God wants me to be good.

I still think that’s a great answer, but as a grown up girl I think God wants more for me than just being good. So I change my answer. 

I want to be dazzlingly clever. 

Well actually, I want to be astoundingly wise.

See, I crave wisdom. I’m after it every day. And I don’t just mean knowledge or facts or know-how. I want to know the best, most merciful, most Christ-like reactions to any given situation. (Now granted, I don’t always use this wisdom. Just ask my husband.)

Today is Mother’s Day and my pastor asked me to do a watercolor print for all the women at church as their Mother’s Day gift. I knew exactly the passage I would paint because I was extremely excited to letter the word “rubies” in this delicious red color from my watercolor kit. So I painted:

She is worth far more than rubies.

As I finished the scripture I realized I needed the reference, so I Googled it. I was fascinated to learn this verse is mentioned twice in Proverbs, once in 3:15 and once in chapter 31 describing the revered Proverbs 31 woman. Well, if the chapter 31 verse was describing a godly woman, what was 3:15 describing?

“She” in verse 3:15 is describing, you guessed it - wisdom.

When I think of wisdom my mind immediately turns to Solomon, who when asked by God what gift he would like to have, Solomon wisely answers, “Wisdom.” God is so pleased with his answer that He gives this gift to Solomon and also makes him the richest man who ever lived.

So if wisdom is so perfect to have, where does it come from? I mean, can I study and become wise? Can I learn to be wise? If we listen to James 1:5, it says very clearly where the source of wisdom is. Not only does God give it directly to Solomon, we hear this:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

The source of wisdom is God Himself. Scripture clearly tells us that if we want wisdom we should ask for it boldly and truly it will be given to us generously.

Solomon wrote this in Proverbs 2:

My son, if you receive my words
   and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
   and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
   and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
   and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
   from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
   he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
   and watching over the way of his saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
   and equity, every good path;
for wisdom will come into your heart,
   and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
discretion will watch over you,
   understanding will guard you,
delivering you from the way of evil,
   from men of perverted speech,
who forsake the paths of uprightness
   to walk in the ways of darkness,
who rejoice in doing evil
   and delight in the perverseness of evil,
men whose paths are crooked,
   and who are devious in their ways.
So you will be delivered from the forbidden[a] woman,
   from the adulteress[b] with her smooth words,
who forsakes the companion of her youth
   and forgets the covenant of her God;
for her house sinks down to death,
   and her paths to the departed;[c]
none who go to her come back,
   nor do they regain the paths of life.
So you will walk in the way of the good
   and keep to the paths of the righteous.
For the upright will inhabit the land,
   and those with integrity will remain in it,
but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
   and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

I carry a silver key on my keychain. It has one word on it - wisdom. Because I need to remember. I need to remember that wisdom is a conscious decision. I can choose to be wise or I can choose to turn away from wisdom. Wisdom isn’t about an IQ or an SAT score or a GPA. It isn’t something I either have or I don’t - it’s something that is mine if I choose to take it.

So grasp it boldly, friends. Just as Solomon says, if I want to be wise the first thing I should do is fear the Lord and know just Who’s in charge. Wisdom is actually admitting that I don’t know, but in the same breath saying But I know Who does.

We face that question Anne asks us every day: what do I want the world to recognize me for?

My outside appearance?

My smarts?

My peaceful demeanor?

It is up to me what the world sees when they look at me. And I choose to be wise. I seek it like silver. Because, I don’t know anything. And the admitting of it is exactly where wisdom is found.

All knowledge belongs to my God and He keeps it stored up for me. Not because I’m smart enough to obtain it, but because I simply asked for it.

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