The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Patching Cracks

 

May 2, 2018



I have been busy for the last few weeks. Between rushing around to deal with various obligations and efforts, I have hardly slowed down at all. When I have, I am finding myself tired, which prompts me to use my relaxation time for things like watching television or mindlessly surfing the internet. My energy to spend on reading or more edifying pursuits is limited. This morning, when I sat down to write this column, I discovered that my mind is blank.

Coming up with ideas for topics is rarely difficult. Generally, they are birthed from my reading or quiet times spent walking or praying. This morning, I am realizing that these things I generally make time for every week have fallen to the wayside in favor of being busy or worrying about the things I have to get done. The to-do list in my life has gobbled up the margin time I typically use for rest and contemplation. The effect of this lack of space in the margins of my life is that when the time comes to be wise, the well is dry.

The book of Proverbs in the Bible talks a great deal about wisdom. It is described as something you have to seek out and focus on. This is impossible to do without spending time on it. We grow wise, not only by learning, but also by digesting knowledge and applying the principles we discover to our lives. However, this is easier said than done. Our culture has made it extremely difficult to spend time in silence, contemplating or resting. We are surrounded by entertainment sources that are vying for our attention. Beyond entertainment, we have work and family obligations. Each takes a piece of our time, leaving us with less and less. Add to that the hours a day we waste online and the margins grow even thinner. Real depth in our thought and spiritual life is accomplished by investing time daily. It’s not really any different from fitness. The fittest guys I know weren’t born healthy and athletic. Instead, they spend a bit of time every day. The same is true of wisdom. Time spent daily gives folks depth. This can be time spent reading, praying, listening to a wise person teaching, learning a new skill, etc.

The other trick to wisdom is that it is not just something you learn, wisdom is something you do. What is difficult about this is that it requires time. Many decisions we make in our lives are dictated by our emotional demands or our impulse in the moment. Wisdom is slow because it requires that we consider decisions carefully. One great example of this is found in Proverbs 22:7, which talks about debt. In short: borrowing money makes you a servant to the lender. Often, poor financial decisions are made without any consideration for the future. Rather, they are impulsive and fun. We want something new, so we buy it. The reality of the decision’s wisdom doesn’t come into play until after the newness has worn off and all that remains is the payments. Wisdom requires that we act slower and consider the impact of our actions.

None of these things are particularly difficult to accomplish. Building time into our daily schedule for investing in our personal growth is difficult and requires discipline. It requires we make a choice to pursue wisdom and to see its pursuit as valuable. Proverbs describes wisdom as more precious than jewels, which we should chase after the way we would chase after precious stones.

 
 

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