The Weekly Word - A Devotion for the Week of January 11
Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. (Proverbs 3:13)
You’ve undoubtedly crossed paths with a number of very intelligent people in your life – the calculus professor you had in college; the colleague who always seems to offer the most innovative ideas; the expert who is quoted at length in the book you’re currently reading. There are those with sky-high IQs, those who have achieved a perfect ACT score, those who have been awarded Nobel Prizes in physics, economics or literature. There’s no shortage of smart people in the world.
Wisdom, on the other hand, is a much rarer and often overlooked quality. We tend to conflate “wisdom” and “intelligence,” but the truth is, the two qualities are very different. While intelligence is largely the result of one’s genetic makeup – something largely beyond our control – we can find and cultivate wisdom on our own.
Wisdom is hard-won through experience: when we persevere in our struggles; when we learn from our mistakes; when we fail, try again and “fail better,” as the author Samuel Beckett once said. The key to wisdom lies in our willingness to embrace humility. The more we learn and grow from our mistakes and our experiences, the wiser we become.
So how, then, does wisdom make us more joyful? The answer is found in the second half of this verse: “Joyful is…the one who gains understanding.” Wisdom offers us a much broader perspective, allowing us to see and understand what is and what is not important in the grand scheme of things. When we allow the extraneous to fall away, we are left with what truly matters: joy, peace, love and compassion – all of which come with wisdom.
Gracious God, help me learn from my mistakes and failures with grace and humility so that I may grow in wisdom. Amen.