Monday July 23, 2018

Tan: With a quiet heart consider the better ways of wisdom

Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

THE word "better" from verses 1-14 was mentioned 8x. Obviously, the writer was comparing the ways of wisdom to the lifestyle of a fool. To get the whole picture, we need a quiet heart to investigate the matter. Prayerfully consider what is presented before us and make a choice to walk in the ways of wisdom.

By wisdom we mean truth. Yes, the foundation of wisdom is truth, absolute truth and not relative truth. Nowadays, the meaning of wisdom has been twisted to mean ‘escape from the consequences of evil while continually living a lifestyle of deceit’. To do wrong and get away with it is considered wise. Wisdom is timing. Truth spoken and applied at the right time is wisdom. Wisdom is tenderness of heart and toughness of skin. Having a soft heart and tough skin helps us survive the pressures of life and still stay connected with our feelings and senses.

Soft hearts and hard skin have proven to be a good guide for those who serve others. As we consider the better ways of wisdom, it is required that we drop our expectations for this road to wisdom is very unpredictable. It will open our eyes and confront our biases and transform our values and ultimately will quietly revolutionize our lives as a whole. We will find sense, spiritual insights, and doable applications from the most unsuspected sources. This time we learn from life, get our own scars, and carve painful lessons of wisdom in our hearts. We learn from people, both from the wise and the fools. Learning comes to a full circle when we actually have made up our minds either to be wise or to be fools. Simply put, wisdom demands that we resign from the neutral ground of being safe and walk the daring life of faith in God.

Let us consider these not so popular insights of the better ways of wisdom as described by the writer of Ecclesiastes. Let us discover the source and dissect its significance ...finally, in the silence of the heart, walk in this way of wisdom and fear the Lord.

THE BETTER WAYS OF WISDOM IS FOUND IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED PLACE AND IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED PREDICAMENT The writer highlighted two of the most unexpected spots from where wisdom flows ... in one's death over one's birth and in times of sorrow over times of laughter. It is here that we learn the most valuable lesson of all. Wisdom prefers a good name over good smell. Spraying or applying ointments or perfume for maintaining a good image before men is not only temporary, it is also artificial. A good name is totally impossible without trusting the good God. A good name means a credible steward of influence. Influence is the total effect of one's life toward others. This definition from the Life Application Bible commentary should not only make us think ... it should make us kneel down and repent. It is in this position of prayer and repentance that fools like us finally receive the grace of wisdom and the blessing of redemption.

Death is better than birth in the sense that the struggle of many stops at death. Death is a perpetual reminder. It is foolish to pretend we are strong. Those who say they don’t fear death are actually exposing their fear of it. Birth brings the chance to live while death reveals how life was lived. From someone’s death, wisdom whispers lessons regarding how the remaining days of life should be lived. Attending a funeral is wisdom's way of teaching us what really matters most. The wise choose these encounters while the fools attend parties.

Sometimes, sorrow brings along a lot of wisdom that ultimately bring an abundance of laughter while the laughter of fools are unable to prepare them when times of sorrow knocks on their doors. It is the mysterious moments of sadness that prepare our spiritual and emotional taste buds to savor the real taste of joy. These bitter pills make us better handlers of life's blessings.

THE BETTER WAYS OF WISDOM IS TAUGHT BY THE MOST UNLIKELY PERSONS BROUGHT ABOUT BY UNMANAGED CIRCUMSTANCES. It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man because both wise men and wise rebukes are very rare. Words of flattery and empty adoration abound from the lips of unprincipled and artificial friends. Finding the wise from the fool requires discernment while we move along in the company of both. It is wise selection and not drastic segregation. It is not to snub people, it is about choosing who will be allowed to create a godly impact in our lives.

THE BETTER WAYS OF WISDOM ARE VALIDATED NOT BY APTITUDE ALONE IT IS UNMISTAKENLY DISPLAYED BY ATTITUDE. Attitude defines almost everything in life. Skills are taught, attitudes are caught. It is like a stallion made calm by its rider. Wisdom controls the anger of the wise. Actions and reactions can be surprisingly guided by wisdom. It is really wise to pray that God will grant us godly reactions as we all face anger-provoking moments and deal with anger-provoking fools

PATIENCE is the navigator of your cause, pride and arrogance is a prelude of your life long regret.

In the end, how you reacted defines most of the outcome of any situation. Wisdom-guided perspective clearly sees the blessings of the present; the nowness of the moment over the dramatic glory of the former days. To put it plainly, it is not wisdom to wish to live in the good old days. It is wisdom to live in the not-so-good today with the blazing hope that a life lived by faith is present tense ... not past and not future. Our most wonderful gift is today. Seize it. Remember, wisdom, along with its better ways, is not a crash course to maintain good image for it is a long, bumpy journey of powerlessness and grace. Between attending a feast or a funeral, choose well where wisdom flows more freely than food. Between sorrow and laughter, prayerfully let sorrow prepare you for authentic joy. Wisdom's offer has labeled us "better" not perfect. JESUS CHRIST is true wisdom ... walk with Him ... He will walk with you. Honestly, in life and in death, all we need is Jesus walking with us.

Thanks for reading. We all need to learn straight from our hearts our desperate need, and desperate thirst for wisdom. Let us humbly go where it flows in abundance. Try visiting a funeral parlor or cemetery this week and with a quiet heart listen to the voice of wisdom.