Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Wise and Otherwise

100_0029There is something of wisdom that seems to elude us, no matter our intentions, as we step out into the word. We will sometimes say that wisdom comes with hindsight, that great gift of the armchair philosopher, the bar stool lawyer,the coffee shop counsellor. We like to think that with age comes wisdom and sometimes bemoan the fact that “you can’t put an old head on young shoulders.” Yet the truth is that youth has not yet cornered the market on folly, as many of us slightly older folk can testify.

The Bible has much to say about wisdom, especially the proverbs:

“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who finds understanding…” (Prov.3:13) Wisdom is said to be better than jewels (8:11) and the one who loves wisdom is said to bring joy (29:3) Who is wise? The Bible tells us it is those who take advice (13:10) And how do we judge wisdom’s true worth, whether we are even in the presence of wisdom? How do we judge anything but by outcomes? Jesus tells us, wisdom is proved right by her actions (Mt.11:19)

It is easy to look at the other fellow and declare him a fool but aren’t we all guilty of  a nodding recognition of the claims of wisdom, rather as we would nod and tip our hat respectfully to the priest, or pastor across the road before continuing on our way untouched by the brief encounter?

In the same way, many will find their way to a church this Easter to pay their respects, do what somehow feels the right thing, perhaps to satisfy a nagging conscience. And glad we are to see them, may I add. For, whatever the reason, it is always good to see some coming within the sound of the great gospel message of Easter.

But let me tell you something about what happens after Easter. You see, the Easter story is the story of how the Son of God came into the world and, by his sacrifice, made it possible for we who are separated from God by sin to gain access to God through him. Paul describes very well what this means when he declares that those who put their trust in Christ have peace with God:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”" (Ro.5:1-2)

Grace is a gift from God, an expression of his mercy in the work of his Son. In his mercy he sent his Son to mend the relationship between you and God.  The exciting thing about this good news is that we now have access to God the Father. The writer to the Hebrews encourages us, Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb.4:16)

Did you get that? To help us in our time of need. Now where were we? Oh, yes, wisdom. Now, if there is anything this world seems to be short of, in desperate need of, it is wisdom. You would have a hard job finding anyone who would disagree with this claim. Frankly, it is hard to believe most of the time that it is being run by grown-ups, and the same situation will prevail in lives across the world after Easter. Now where on earth will we find the wisdom we need  to save us from – ourselves?

James tells us:

If any of you lacks wisdom , he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him (Js.1:5)

Christ came to die for our sins and make peace between us and God. That peace is available to all who will trust in Jesus and it gives us access to God who is ready to give wisdom generously to anyone who asks. Whatever the rest of the world does, your life and my life can be different, better, wiser after Easter, because of Easter. Its not exactly rocket science. yet many still nod respectfully from a distance while others come ready to fill their boots with the wisdom of a scandalously generous God.

I guess Tobias Smollett was right when he said, Some folks are wise, and some are otherwise.  I hope and pray today will find you in the former category because Easter is coming, a gentle reminder of what it cost to make all this available. Any takers?

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