Several men in the locker room of a private exercise club were talking when a cell phone on the bench rang. A man picked it up without hesitation, and the following conversation ensued:
“Honey, it’s me.”
“I’m at the mall two blocks from the club. I saw a nice mink coat. It’s absolutely beautiful! Can I buy it? It’s only $1,500.
“Well, okay, if you like it that much.”
“Thanks! Oh, and I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new models. I saw one that I really liked. I spoke with the salesman and he made me a good price.
“OK, but for this price I want it with all the options.”
“Awesome! Before you hang up, there’s something else. This may seem like a lot, but hey, I stopped by the realtor this morning and saw the house we visited last year. This article is for sale!Remember the property by the sea with the swimming pool and the English garden?
“How much are they asking? »
“Only $450,000, a magnificent prize, and we have that much in the bank to cover it.”
“Well, go ahead and buy it, but make an offer for only $420,000, okay?”
“Honey OK. Thank you! I’ll see you later! I love you!”
“I love you too.”
The man hung up, closed the flip of the phone, and lifted it up, asking, “Does anyone know who owns this cell phone?”
If there’s a lesson to be learned from this story, it’s this: be careful where you leave your phone!
Seriously, this story illustrates a principle of life that we can all agree with: Wisdom is something that easily escapes us, and we all need it!
In the New Testament, James, the brother of our Lord, asks a question that seems to be the question many are asking today: “Which of you is wise and understanding? (James 3:18).
In seeking to answer this question, first notice what he did not ask. James did not ask, “Who among you is a sage?” There are plenty of them around, aren’t there? And they would include the (fictional) guy who picked up that phone in the story above.
But where do we find true wisdom?
When asked this question, many people would simply say four words: “The Library of Congress.”
Carla Hayden is currently the 14th Librarian of Congress, overseeing the largest library in the world.
The Library of Congress was established by an act of Congress in 1800. In 1815, the Library accepted 6,487 books from Thomas Jefferson’s library.
The Library of Congress today is an unprecedented global resource. The collection of over 171 million items includes more than 40 million cataloged books and other printed materials in 470 languages; more than 74 million manuscripts; the largest collection of rare books in North America; and the world’s largest collection of legal documents, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.
Hayden took the place of James Billington, who had held the position since 1987. At one point, while managing this huge collection, Billington commented on the scope of his work. He argued that it is even more difficult for our country to know what to do with all this information.
Describing the contemporary world as “a culture of info-overabundance,” Billington posed a very probing question: “But have we grown wiser? »
When the Librarian of Congress asks a question like that, it seems like it’s a question we should take seriously.
If I may, I would like to make four main observations about this question:
First, there are 40 million books cataloged at the Library of Congress, but only one of them (and its auxiliaries) is the divinely inspired Word of God.
Second, accumulating more and more information will never save us. My friends, you and I are only saved by the power of Christ through faith.
Third, everything contained in the Library of Congress – and I mean every last paragraph of every book or manuscript – is but a drop in the bucket compared to the omniscience and wisdom of God.
And fourth, if the whole point of our life is to live a life of wisdom, how can we truly live a life of wisdom in our “supercharged” society and culture?
The answer, my friends, is found in the words of wise King Solomon: Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
True wisdom is possible only when it begins with a healthy reverence for (“the fear”) of the Lord. It starts with God. Oh, and by the way, it also ends with God.
So if you want to be truly wise, you must have a relationship with God that begins with Jesus Christ. And that relationship with Christ will make a distinct difference in the way you act and think. James tells us what real wisdom looks like from a practical perspective. He says that “…the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, meek, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, steadfast, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
It’s quite a challenge, isn’t it? But it is possible because of the power of the Spirit living in all who follow Christ in the real world today.
So let me ask one last question for the week: Are there any really wise people around?
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former local pastor. He can be reached at [email protected]