The biblical word for "wisdom" can also be translated “technical skill” - wisdom is “skill for life.” The book of Proverbs is an early collection of timeless life skills. These were the original “life hacks” which have become so popular today. Consider these life hacks from the book of Proverbs …
- Proverbs 15.1 (NRSV), A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
- Proverbs 27.14 (NRSV), Whoever blesses a neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing.
- Proverbs 29.17 (NRSV), Discipline your children, and they will give you rest; they will give delight to your heart.
- Proverbs 13.11 (NRSV), Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but those who gather little by little will increase it.
The book of Proverbs is full of life hacks, like these, that make us wise for life. In the very beginning of Proverbs we see that the key practice to growing in wisdom, the most important skill, is “listening.” Verse 8 begins the collection by stating, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1.8, NIV) Listening is the key to growing wise - is the original life hack. Listening is an amazing tool for several reasons, here’s two.
Listening to wisdom leads us to live a life worth celebrating. What kinds of lives and people do we celebrate? People that have made worthwhile contributions to their family, to their communities, in their businesses. Some people leave a mark through kindness because they understand the needs of people. Some people leave a mark through business and success because they understand a problem and how to solve it. Some people leave a mark through leadership as they clearly see a path no one else sees or the way to travel it. All of these people need understanding or wisdom and they get it from listening to the people around them.
Listening to the wise gives us their years of experience for free. We live in a time and age when we can get technical skills and advice anytime we want. You can learn any practical skill online. Want to learn how to fix a small engine? YouTube. Want to learn how to make soap? Google it. I know because I’ve done it! When we got the bus here at the church a few of us went and got our license so we could drive it. Part of that process was watching YouTube videos to pass the mechanical inspection test. The other part of it was having a man who drives for the county walk me through the process and show me. After two tries, I passed because I sought the advice of the wise driver. He helped me in a way a YouTube video just couldn’t! Listening and observing the wise allows us to learn from their failures instead of our own.
So, who should we listen to? I'll give you three people that can give you wisdom in my next post.