I love this quote from Sandra Carey “Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.” So very true. It seems we have been formed by our society to believe that the accumulation of information is education. Of course, it certainly is part of education. But the true test of a person is if they can apply what they know to how they live in a healthy way.
Too many nowadays are intoxicated with a utopian parasitic mindset that blinds them to actually living in reality.
But true wisdom cures us of this blindness, and, for the next several days we are going to spend some time with Solomon and the book of Proverbs!
Look at our lesson today in Proverbs 1:1-20:
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; that prudence may be given to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth — the wise man also may hear and increase in learning, and the man of understanding acquire skill, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching; for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us wantonly ambush the innocent; like Sheol let us swallow them alive and whole, like those who go down to the Pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with spoil; throw in your lot among us, we will all have one purse” — my son, do not walk in the way with them, hold back your foot from their paths; for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird; but these men lie in wait for their own blood, they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of all who get gain by violence; it takes away the life of its possessors.
Wisdom cries aloud in the street; in the markets she raises her voice.
During the first week of Great Lent, the Church gives us lessons from the Old Testament. Of course, you know how I feel about that word “Old.” I prefer the “First Testament” because too many of us in our current modernity see “old” as either “bad” or “not as good as ‘new.'” But the truth is the Early Church turned the whole world upside down using the preaching of the Hebrew Scriptures before the “New” Testament was compiled! Wisdom means not remaining ignorant of that foundational insight!
King Solomon asked God for wisdom when the Lord offered him whatever he asked. And Solomon recorded his wisdom for us in the book of Proverbs. Frankly, this is the original “parenting” book that should be the source you look to first to form your life and the lives of your children.
Look how Solomon begins his message of wisdom to us. He lays out the kind of life a person will have IF they are wise, and not merely smart! Your life lived wisely will enable you to “understand words of insight, receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; that prudence may be given to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth — the wise man also may hear and increase in learning, and the man of understanding acquire skill, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Look at that last statement: “…fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
And then Solomon puts wisdom as the primary gift of parents to children. He warns young people not to abandon the wisdom of their parents and then lays out just what is truly at stake. Solomon wisely tells the youth that ignoring wisdom leads to murder and death! Oh, maybe not literally, but a foolishly lived life is so self-centered that true joy is always beyond reach. Solomon says it best. Selfish and foolish living always sets “an ambush for their own lives.”
So, today, are you wise? Let’s enter fully into Great Lent and learn wisdom through focused and attentive living. That’s what it means to be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. O Lord and Master of my life. Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. (prostration) But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Your servant. (prostration) Yes, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. (prostration)