I want to be wise.
I have seen the outcome of many people’s life choices. Some truly wise and some truly foolish. My own life can give example to either. I’ve sat visiting our friends in AMC (a nice name for jail), I’ve celebrated weddings, grieved over divorces, watched people lose all to addictions, I’ve seen incredible generosity, lost people we love to suicide, seen people fight to stay alive. Seen people waste grand amounts of money and others steward it in ways that are to be admired.
It is easy to watch others and discern when wisdom and foolishness are being modelled. Its not always so easy to see it in the mirror. We really need each other; we are blind to so much when it comes to ourselves. Thank God for those who love me enough to give me precious, though at times not enjoyable, feedback. I do believe that everyone wants to be wise – no-one wakes up thinking, “I really hope I can be foolish today and experience the consequences of that!” Sometimes we have no idea of what is wise – and are wise in our own eyes. The Bible says that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” (Proverbs 9:10) and that “there is a way that seems right to man but in the end leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12).
We all have (shall I say legitimate) needs, we try to meet them in many ways, some healthy some not so healthy. Cain wanted to be accepted and was jealous of his brother Abel, you can read of it in the early chapters of Genesis. I love how God engages him, “Why the long face? Why so downcast? Don’t you know if you do what is right you’ll be accepted? You see sin is crouching at your door and wants to master you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7). Here in this story we find ourselves caught in the tension of how Cain will choose to respond to God. This same tension is mirrored in our lives – how will we respond to God in the practical everyday thinking, choices, and actions? We are quick to judge Cain’s choices as foolish, but pause a moment – are we that different from our brother Cain?
“Wisdom is proved right by her actions…” (Matthew 11:19). Wisdom would offer us a better path to journey on (it was offered to Cain but he chose not to take it), a better path with better outcomes. Do we really have to learn the same lessons again and again? Will my story tell of the wisdom of God through a rebellious display of my foolish choices and their outcomes or through the wisdom of walking in trusting obedience to the direction of a loving God (even when I don’t like it) and the associated outcomes – including peace and joy. Oh, that my moment by moment life choices may please God and model His wisdom! I guess we need to ask ourselves is Jesus really my Lord?
In Luke 6 Jesus, with His uncanny ability to back one into a corner, poses a question, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, when you don’t even want to do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Let’s not gloss over this, to cast a judging eye upon those he is addressing may be casting the same look upon myself – do I really want to do what he wants (of course I do when he wants me to do what I want to do anyway!) It’s when Jesus calls me to think, live or behave in a way that is not natural to me, that costs, that I may not like – it is here that I see if he truly is my LORD. Jesus goes on to say (Luke 6:47), “I’ll show you what it is like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching and does what I say. He is like a wise man” (not a foolish man). It is here we hear the story of building on the sand or the rock, and all of us would say we would build on the rock – who wants to look the fool? Yet with all our hot air and confessions of the pursuit of wisdom, how often do we go out and start building on the sand all the same?
As we set our sights as a Missionheart community on engaging with and celebrating Jesus’ Passion – His death and resurrection – and look forward to eating Easter buns, and chocolate, there are two things stirring in my spirit. One is that there are many who don’t have the great privilege of enjoying a relationship with God where they can come to Jesus, listen to and act on His leading; and that it is our task to be and do what we can to help others that are far from God to come to know Him in Jesus. Secondly it is going to be by allowing Jesus to be Lord, or by making Jesus our Lord; by coming to Jesus, listening and doing, that this wisdom will be proved right by our actions.
So no more long faces – let Jesus be Lord. Let us come to him, let us listen, and let us do as He instructs. Let us be the wise, for God’s honour, and for the blessing and joy of many.