Wisdom is antidote to ill fortunes
Many of us who are now older will recall that the 1980s were difficult days economically, particularly the early part of that decade. Pastors and ministers can tell when days like these grip their congregations.
While that tension is always with us -- will there be enough for us, for me? -- this tension intensifies during difficult times, particularly since the church, individually and collectively, faces daily the battle to pursue God in a world ruled by money. We regularly encounter real powers in this arena, powers that try to control, dominate, steal, kill and destroy.
Only the church of the living God opposes those powers. I am not referring to the institutional church, but to the power and faith of the laity, the people in the pew. No one else, not government, not social agencies, not the press or media, opposes these powers. Just you and I, and sometimes we run away from or are not prepared for the battle.
There are many more than those who make up the church who know this battle is going forth, people who get caught up in the money game and end up manipulated by mammon, the spirit of money, in exchange for gain. We often see leaders fall from lofty heights where they were admired, as mammon brings them to their knees and deaths.
We are absolutely powerless to control the bad cycles of the economy. They come and go and affect all of us, though their going often takes a long time and they can come in with a fury. Unfortunately there is no divine handbook on what to do on bad days like these. When it rains, it rains on all of us, both the just and the unjust. However, we do have a guidebook to help during the tough times.
This guidebook says that wisdom is supreme and, above all, we are to seek her while we can hear her voice. It is hard to hear the voice of wisdom when hurricane winds are pummeling you and your possessions. The Bible states that wisdom is to be sought above all else.
Scripture defines wisdom as first of all pure. Nothing has to be added to wisdom. It is able to do what needs to be done without any additive. There is no guile in wisdom. It engages us in doing what is best for those around and about us. Wisdom is peace-loving. It is quiet; wise people do not go around screaming and challenging others with a raised voice. It is filled with the confidence that right moves engender right results.
Wisdom compels recognition that quietness and confidence are our strength. Wisdom is considerate and does not bully people. It does not take undue advantage of others. Wisdom is submissive; it listens and acts at the appropriate time. It wants to know all that can be gathered before it decides. Wisdom is full of mercy; it does not engage in a search for a scapegoat, someone to blame. Wisdom does not sneer or bring shame; it encourages us.
Wisdom produces good fruit; wisdom is impartial; it does not dole out favor on a few. Wisdom is sincere. It is filled with integrity and not its own agenda.
May God give us wisdom all day, every day.
The Rev. Murray Hohns is an associate pastor with New Hope Christian Fellowship.