A Closer Walk
Do we utilize wisdom in our lives? As we age hopefully we gain at least some degree of wisdom. "If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen the edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success," Ecclesiastes 10:10 NASB. This nugget of wisdom from ancient Israelite King Solomon could be construed as an eloquent and elegant way of saying,"Work smarter, not harder."
If an axe is dull then the worker employing the axe must exert more strength. Remember, Huskvarna chain saws were not yet available during Solomon's reign. Cutting down trees involved grabbing an axe by the handle and putting the business end to work. With a dull axe the worker must make more strokes, and must use more strength with each stroke, than would be necessary with a sharp axe. Sharpening the axe makes the work easier and quicker, plus safer. Preparation would then seem to be more important than execution. "If you tell me I have six hours to chop down a tree, I shall spend four hours sharpening the axe," Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln seemed to believe Solomon's wisdom.
Not utilizing whatever wisdom we might possess could result in some measure of distress for us by causing us to be unprepared and ill-equipped, making things more difficult than they need to be. Not using wisdom while working smarter may not be working smarter at all. Solomon tells us that wisdom has the advantage of giving success. Which brings us to a question we might ask ourselves, "If I am not having success, am I using wisdom?" Hmmm. That is something worth pondering. If we define success simply as accomplishing what we set out to do, then having success would usually be easy to measure.
For example, if we decide to drive our car to the grocery store to do our weekly shopping, that task would have three phases. Phase one: the drive to the store (the shopping list already having been compiled over the previous week). Leaving the house and going to the garage, opening the door, getting in the car and starting it. Then backing out and heading toward the destination. This would result in us arriving at the parking lot of the desired location. Phase two: the shopping. Going into the store, grabbing a shopping cart and proceeding up and down the various aisles to pick up the things on our list. Then going to the register to check out, paying for our merchandise, and taking it out and loading it into our car. Phase three: the drive back home. Having gotten into the car we leave the parking lot, reversing the route we took to the store. Arriving home we park in the garage, close the garage door, and take our purchases into the house and put them away. With all three phases completed the task is now completed. Easy to measure results and easy to define success.
Wisdom might be thought of as applying knowledge to life situations or circumstances. This can help to keep us out of trouble, or help to get us out of trouble if we find ourselves there. Wisdom could also be thought of as applying the eternal truths of God's word to our lives. This makes the matter much more personal, doesn't it? This puts wisdom in the realm of being between us and our Lord. If we are applying God's truths there would be evidence of that and our family members and our brothers and sisters in Christ would see the fruit of that. Why? Because we would be making more Godly decisions. That's both making decisions that are more Godly, and making a higher percentage of our decisions as being Godly. Applying wisdom from God's word to our lives is described by the Bible as walking in the light. Implication being we are no longer walking in the dark. A good thing. Agreed?
Wisdom has the advantage of bringing success. How would our God define success?