June 14, 2018
Proverbs 9:8-9… Do not reprove a scoffer or he will hate you; reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning.
These verses are not speaking about a smart man or a rich man; they speak of a wise man. The first chapters in Proverbs are about our relationship to wisdom. I wrote about that yesterday morning. Wisdom is not identified by the accumulation of knowledge or the smart use of knowledge. Wisdom is a gift from God. We don’t get it by diligent work. It comes only from God. A wise man is such because of His relationship with God; that’s it. A wise man is different from a smart man. We have tests to identify smarts. And we have formulas for getting it. Learning centers are for increasing smarts. Don’t miss-associate learning and wisdom. I will say here that I am not putting down learning; I am only saying to not exchange learning for wisdom.
I just had a picture of a guru sitting atop a high mountain. That is one of our pictures of a wise man. People climb to the top of that mountain to gain wisdom and insight. I have never heard it asked, “Why is a wise man sitting alone, in a hard to reach place, without any shelter or sustenance?” We relate to him as wise because he has advice, or maybe because he has a long beard.
Solomon gives us, at least, one test of wisdom. A wise man will receive instruction and become even wiser. That has been one of my tests of a leader: “Is he, or she, teachable?” in fact, it has been a test of humans in general… not just leaders. When I hired people to work on my construction crew, I listened to their praise for themselves and what they knew, but I listened even more to the questions they asked. Their questions often revealed their willingness to learn. I did not hire “know-it-alls” because in a rough place they would sometimes rely on their own knowledge rather than my leadership. I made decisions based on the big picture… the end of the matter. They often made decisions based on the immediate benefit.
Knowledge sometimes swells our heads. Wisdom is teachable. It is humble. Jesus knew all things, but He still asked many questions.