-by Rev. Jeff Gannon, Senior Pastor
Every day I pray for wisdom. I learned from the Psalms the importance of praying for wisdom. The Psalms has a perspective I embrace. I can do everything I can such as study, research, listen, and learn and the by product will be knowledge. The Psalms are individually and corporately adamant that wisdom is a gift from God. God can give us wisdom in our seeking of knowledge but the Psalmists have come to the conclusion that only God ultimately gives wisdom. I have known very wise persons who do not have a lot of knowledge and I have a lot of persons who have a lot of knowledge and not much wisdom. There are very few who have an abundance of both. It is not that wisdom and knowledge are mutually exclusive. They are, in fact, two sides to the same coin, if you will. Wisdom, if you and I listen well to the Psalms, is a gift of the Holy Spirit for those who take the spiritual life seriously.
Therefore, for the next several weeks, I want to share wisdom with you. I know it is presumptuous for me to name something as wise. But wisdom is like the color green. You know it when you see it. It is like the taste of chocolate ice cream. Very difficult to describe but you know it when you experience it.
A pastor, for whom I have tremendous respect, Jim Jackson, recently retired. He has begun to take Scripture, life experience, professional perspective, and a whole lot of pondering to create a set of “laws.” These are not legalistic practices but principles upon which God has created this earth. Just like the law of gravity, there are spiritual laws at work in this universe and Jesus was always speaking about them using the language of the Kingdom of God. This is how God has arranged this world to work at its best and reality is, as Dallas Willard says, what we run up against when we are wrong.
“Asking the Right Question”
The law of wit and wisdom: Wit is revealed by people’s answers; wisdom is demonstrated by their questions.
I love to hear smart people talk. I regularly listen to talk shows that invite brilliant people to engage in respectful dialogue about important issues. I avoid talk shows where the guests all agree or there is a lack of civility between the participants. The wit that manifests in intelligent dialogue is always astonishing to me.
While we discover people’s wit by listening to them answer questions, we find out how wise they are by listening to their questions. The mark of a wise person is the ability to frame the right question in the clearest way.
Management experts say that knowing the right question is the key to finding the correct answer. If you can frame the questions correctly, you can find the right answer.
Jesus, when asked a question, always, without exception (you are welcome to prove me wrong), answered a question with a question. In my opinion, this was not Jesus’ attempt to be evasive because he was trying to “dodge” the question. This is Jesus, at his logical best, trying to get us to think about life and how God has designed it to work! By asking the right questions, Jesus allows the questioner to come up with their own conclusions and answers. That is education at its best. When education is reduced to regurgitating correct answers, the knowledge is easily and quickly lost. When education is about getting people to think, to wrestle, to experience some inner angst, wisdom often emerges.
May what was said about Jesus, also be said about us…
Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
Luke 2:52 -New Living Translation