Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Thursday, November 6

The beginning of wisdom is this, get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight.
—Proverbs 4:5

The comment from a fellow teacher caught me by surprise. "In school, if somebody asks for help when they're taking a test, we fail them and call it cheating. But in life, doesn't it work exactly the other way around? If you have a problem at work, and don't ask for help, or a problem at home and you don't reach out for some guidance, you'll either lose your job or a relationship that matters.  We don't call that cheating. We call it wisdom." 

Although I would never advocate cheating or plagiarism, it took but a second to see that he was right. 

Today's verse has several starting points. The first is that wisdom has a beginning. We are not born with wisdom.  We must attain it.  And, like many things in life, the acquisition of wisdom is never fully completed. Over and over again we must make it a priority. It matters not if we attain it from experience, from friends, from clergy, from worship or from books. 

Each of my children has now reached the 25-year mark. There were times during their teenage years that wisdom seemed to be in short supply in our home. We were concerned. Were they ever going to learn? Why were we so often at sixes and sevens?

But then, as time passed, an entirely new relationship began with each one of them. Suddenly we were sharing life, talking about what we had learned, and sharing our insights. There was less and less to prove, and more and more to share.

"I remember when I realized," we began to say. "I didn't know," we added. "I learned what I should and shouldn't trust," they would say. The conversations were not always easy, but they were always meaningful, as the search for truth always is. Oftentimes they are laced with humor.

Whenever I see twin baby strollers at an airport, and a mother or father who is utterly pre-occupied with navigating flights, family and crowds, I invariably go up to them and say, "You're going to make it! We had twins too. They've grown! I don't know how, but they've made it and so have we!" We smile and break into a laugh.

The writer of Proverbs gives sage advice. We all start out with a set of assumptions. And then, along the way, we "get" wisdom.  As we do, there are insights to share. We may even find that sometimes wisdom is no more, and no less, than a word of encouragement.

Thank you God, for being patient with us as we learn what is true and what is not true, and as we grow in wisdom from whatever our experiences may have been. In all things, you are the teacher—and in all things we give you thanks. Amen.