By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“There is but One, He sitteth in heaven, who is able to teach man wisdom.” – John Wesley
If you ever flip through the book of Proverbs, you’ll notice a lot of proverbs that are pretty straight forward. Like this one for example:
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Proverbs 10:12).
It is hard to misinterpret–hate is bad, love is good. But what about some of the other ones? Some are tough to understand. You read the same two lines again and again and yet you may still be at a loss to what it is saying.
I believe that this is one of the greatest things about the proverbs. I don’t think they are “Rules to Live Your Life by (And If You Do Your Life Will Be Perfect)”.
The proverbs were never meant to be cut and paste solutions to your problems. They were made to be looked at through the lens of wisdom and in conversation with an all-knowing God.
In fact, they require wisdom in order to correctly interpret and apply to a specific situation–and true wisdom can only come from God. The proverbs were not meant to be stolen out of context and wagged in someone’s face. Instead, they were meant to be read prayerfully in order to work the “wisdom muscle” that the Spirit has given us.
Here is one of my favorite proverbs:
“Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23).
The writer of Proverbs explains here that we must “buy” wisdom. What does he mean? I think what the writer is saying is that gaining wisdom takes work. It’s not as simple as skimming over Proverbs. I think we have to buy our wisdom with hard work, with time, with experience, with getting in the Word.
Every time we fail, when we make mistakes, when we take constructive criticism, when we sit down with a mentor, when we do something wrong, when we succeed, when we are praised,–each one is a coin in our wisdom piggy bank. We buy wisdom with our experiences and by allowing God to shape and renew our minds.
But, I believe that there is another part of this proverb that is vital: buy wisdom, do not sell it. Wisdom is tough to gain. It takes work, tears, and failure. But don’t be stingy with the wisdom that you have gained. Pass it on.
Become a mentor for someone else and be free with wisdom that God has departed on you. No matter how young or old you are, God has taught you something. You have wisdom. So, share it.