Researchers at the University of Chicago have received grants to search out what wisdom is. Their $2.7 million program, called “Defining Wisdom,” is part of the modern scientific study of wisdom (Newsweek, Jerry Adler, 1-19-09, p. 46). Adler reported that they’re trying to think outside the box, sending grad students far and wide with tape recorders to gather “data” at nursing homes, barbershops…consulting computer algorithms…exploring music and classical literature, to name just a few.
Others, in search of wisdom, have suggested looking to ant colonies…or the memoirs of aged celebrities. The news channels role out non-stop advice to the (apparently uninformed) masses. As I was recently surfing through the channels while on the treadmill, I overheard Dr. Phil giving his insight to parents who were distraught over their 12 year olds’ habit of sending “sex-messages” (texting sexually provocative messages and photos). On another day, while scanning the aisles at Barnes and Noble looking for the perfect excuse to cash in my holiday gift card, I was amazed at the hordes of experts willing to offer their (book-length) advice on how to live life to the fullest. Perhaps Dear Abby or Ann Landers can provide wisdom. It seems that our society is on a never-ending quest for wisdom because of it’s apparent lack thereof.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ( James 1:5)
Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge, as the Proverb-writer Solomon had learned. Solomon had learned much wisdom passed down from his father, David (Proverbs chapter 4). David had learned that wisdom comes from God: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6). We have the ability to amass much information, but without God giving us “the wisdom to apply”, we don’t have wisdom. Wisdom flows from the divine. Spiritual wisdom is more precious and more practical than gold (Proverbs 8:19 ; 16:16 ).
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)
We live in the “age of (mass) information.” We have no shortage of facts and data at our fingertips (literally). The good news is that as we take the time to quiet our minds and listen, God will provide us with the wisdom to apply knowledge, enabling us to live happy and fruitful lives and benefit others.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)