Wisdom, and more specifically, "a discerning heart to distinguish between right and wrong," is perhaps one of the more beneficial character traits humans could seek to develop when trying to better themselves and their lot in life. This was the request of King Solomon when, at approximately fifteen years old, God appeared to him in a dream and said that he would give of him whatever he asked.
The Bible says that God was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. And so, in response, God promised he would grant his wish for a wise and discerning heart but he would also give him the riches, honor, and long life that he could have requested in place of wisdom.
Though specifically not named, it is widely held that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. Throughout his forty year reign as king of Israel, he had access to unlimited wealth and power, where no worldly desire was ever denied to him. Ecclesiastes is Solomon's philosophic exploration (and rejection of) everything that most people try to find fulfillment in today - sex, money, pleasure, power, fame, business success, etc.
His conclusion? "Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless." Pretty encouraging, don't ya think?
Solomon then proceeds to explain many of the experiences that he has had in life, exclaiming how they have left him with an empty feeling.
In chapter 2, he goes through an extensive list of material possessions and experiences that humans generally regard as desirable; building projects, large houses, agricultural ventures, large amounts of silver and gold, men and women singers and servants.
There are even verses that speak to the disheartening feeling that one gets with the temporary nature of his time here on Earth:
2:16 "For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise must die too."
Solomon's ultimate conclusion is that the duty of man is to "Fear God and keep his commandments."
Jesus echoed this sentiment when he said the greatest commandment is to "Love God with all of your heart, mind and soul. And the second is like it, to love your neighbor as yourself." - Matt 22:36-40.
Solomon is warning us of the problems that arise when we spend our time chasing after other "gods" such as ourselves, other people, money and wealth, possessions, or any of the other alluring things of this world.
The focus, he says, should be on God. Jesus continues that thought saying that the second greatest commandment, our next greatest focus, should be on each other. We as humans are designed to flourish more in groups rather than in isolation. So that's what we are trying to do. To build communities by bringing guys together on common grounds, when they may not have done so on their own otherwise.
I challenge you to reach out to an old friend that you haven't talked to in a while. A quick call (not text)
We all have friends that we haven't talked to in a while. I challenge you to reach out to someone in the next week. Just a quick call (not a text), on your way home from work, to check in and see how things are going. I promise you won't regret it.
You can read Part 2 of this post HERE.
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