Walk With the Wise
- Friday, June 30, 2000
Thomas Aquinas, the "Angelic Doctor" and one of the greatest theologians of all time, said:
"Of all human pursuits, the pursuit of wisdom is the more perfect, the more sublime, the more useful, and the more agreeable. The more perfect, because in so far as a man gives himself up to the pursuit of wisdom, to that extent he enjoys already some portion of true happiness."
The pursuit of practical wisdom will dramatically enhance your inspirational gifts. "Happiness," which I take to mean satisfaction, meaning, and a sense of significance, will result.
For the past several years I have studied the word "wisdom" as it occurs throughout Scripture. Before beginning the study I imagined wisdom to be an other-worldly, mystical type of knowledge.
Since I am determinately practical in everything I do, I thought that wisdom was out of reach. Passages such as "Pursue wisdom, though it cost everything you have" haunted me and made me feel guilty.
Imagine my surprise at discovering that the Hebrew term for wisdom primarily involves "practical skill," "experience," and "shrewdness."
To pursue wisdom, you must be shrewd in seeking out opportunities to learn from the experience of others so that you may improve your practical skills.
Bill Mouser in his excellent "Five Aspects of Man" study says, "The wisdom needed by young men is the stuff which wise men grow old in acquiring. Wisdom is the knowledge which experience entitles you to possess."
In other words, the way of wisdom is through honoring and learning from those who have been there.
Last week my wife met with a group of older ladies who have been meeting in a home economics club since World War II. What an opportunity for a younger woman to spend time with this group, who between them have more than 500 years of practical experience!
These ladies have grown wise through experience. They have made mistakes. They have survived innumerable heartaches and trials. By drawing from their experience my wife is able to become wise; her experiences won't be "from scratch." She'll gain a strong advantage in learning from the received wisdom of those who are full of years.
To gain wisdom from those who are older, you must get involved with what they do. Learn the practical skills they possess and have your ears open for the golden nuggets of truth that only reveal themselves in the course of time spent together.
For example, I have learned a lot about building and maintaining a home from neighbors who have built and maintained their own homes.
These men are older than I am, and their careers took them in directions far different from my own. But as I work with them, learning practical skills, I learn tremendous lessons in resourcefulness, problem-solving, and perseverance. I have also learned lessons about life: marriage, parenting, politics, you name it.
It may sound far-fetched, but I think I have discovered more about my inspirational gift through hard work in practical things such as landscaping, plumbing, building, woodwork, stone masonry, and auto repair than I have in just about any class I've taken or any book I've read.
Ultimately, wisdom is practical. But to get it, you have to want it badly. You must be aggressive in taking advantage of opportunities which arise.
Grow wise by walking with the wise.
COPYRIGHT BY JEFFREY L. MYERS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. To learn more about Dr. Myers and his ministry, check out his web site Inspired Leadership.
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