More profitable than silver and gold

A smiling young man shared his wish for 2024 in a recent TV news segment: “Make more money.”

Who wouldn’t want more money, more wealth?

Still, there’s something more profitable than silver and gold.

If you’re familiar with Proverbs, you might know what it is according to Solomon: wisdom (3:14). This king of Israel possessed wisdom and wealth which surpassed that of all other earthly kings (1 Kings 10:23).

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “How should I live?” Or maybe some variation of the question: How can I live well? What does living well mean?

Wisdom, to me, is the knowledge of living well, which includes making the right decisions and having good discernment. And the standards of what’s well, right and good are according to the God who created all things. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” reads Proverbs 9:10, “and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

What does 2024 look like for you? Foggy uncertainties? Sunny dreams soon to come true? A looming storm of adversity? Whatever your forecast, we’d all weather life better with more wisdom. Even in situations we think we know best, Solomon warns us against being wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:7).

So how can we gain wisdom? Solomon gained wisdom by asking God. James 1:5 also tells us God gives wisdom generously when we ask Him for it.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom

Of course, God has also given us His Word, which imparts wisdom. I know someone who seeks wisdom by reading a chapter from Proverbs every day, going through the entire book’s 31 chapters in about a month. As she’s kept up the habit for the past 15 years, she shared how the Holy Spirit once spoke to her through Proverbs 26:17, advising her to withdraw from an argument she really had no part in.

I can’t say I share her commitment to Proverbs, though a recent rereading of the book has convicted me of follies in my life and reminded me of others to avoid. I’ve also found pastor Timothy Keller’s God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life, a 365-day devotional that covers Proverbs, to be helpful.

Seeking counsel from those who are trustworthy helps as well. “Plans fail for lack of counsel,” Proverbs 15:22 teaches, “but with many advisers they succeed.” In preparing to write this, I asked some Christian friends about their approach to wisdom. One of them reminded me of the verse from James mentioned earlier.

Becoming wise doesn’t guarantee having all the answers to life’s questions. But we have Jesus, who is greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42). We can turn to our Wonderful Counselor, who’s also Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

As opposed to worldly wisdom, godly wisdom is inseparable from knowing God. Let us seek to be wise as we seek to know more of God, His Word and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

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