Did you hear about the man who decided that he wanted to become the smartest man in the world?
In order to accomplish this, he set out to read the dictionary from cover to cover. And he did that. From A to Z, and every word in between, he read through his copy of the dictionary.
I have not heard if it really made him smarter. I’m sure that he encountered words along the way that were new to him. And I’m certain that he learned the definitions to words that he really did not know before the fact. But really — reading the dictionary? There has to be a better way.
The Bible never really tells us that we are to get smarter, but it does give us other interesting directions. In the book of Proverbs, we read, “Get wisdom” — more than once. The implication is that you can get wisdom if you want it.
And in the New Testament’s book of James, it is made even more clear when the brother of Jesus writes in chapter 1, verse 5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” It becomes pretty obvious that God wants us to have wisdom.
There is a difference between education and wisdom. I believe in education. I am grateful for the privilege I have had to attend school, and I continue to encourage others to become educated as well. But given the choice, I would rather be wise than educated.
My grandfather never made it out of what then was called “grammar school,” but he was wise. My dad was the first in his family to graduate from high school, but he was unable to go beyond that. Still, he remains a man of wisdom. I’ve been blessed to go to college and beyond, and I have the privilege of teaching college-level courses from time to time. But unless I exhibit wisdom, my education is not worth a great deal.
So, just what is wisdom? Again, we find the answer in the book of the Proverbs. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” That verse reminds us that no one can be wise unless that person knows and worships the Lord. We also learn that wisdom has a beginning, meaning that we can continue to grow in wisdom. In fact, Luke tells us that Jesus “grew in wisdom…” Surely, we need to do the same.
One thing our world lacks, and needs in greater abundance, is wisdom. And it is there for the taking. It simply requires that we humble ourselves and ask for the Lord’s help. Are you willing to grow in wisdom? Then ask for God’s help. He will give you greater wisdom.
It is the wise man and woman who make the greatest and most lasting impact on this world. I pray for greater wisdom for all of us.