Wisdom from Heaven (27-01-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 103:11-12
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us.
Bible Reading: James 1:5, 3:13,17-18
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let them show it by their good life,
by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive,
full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
I wonder what your instinctive image would be of a wise person. Maybe someone elderly, someone quiet and reflective, someone capable of taking the long view, someone who says little, but when they do, uses a few succinct words.
In a world of change and uncertainty, and where people communicate in soundbites and scramble for media attention, these are not always qualities that readily come to the surface in the leaders of our many organisations and institutions.
And wisdom is not just about words, it is about actions as well. Charlie Chaplin said, ‘Words are cheap,’ and our reading implies that wisdom should make a difference to the way we live our lives.
But wisdom is not something we only need in our leaders; it is something we all need. As I read through the characteristics of wisdom in today’s bible verses, I am struck by their ordinariness. Pure. Peace-loving. Considerate. Submissive. Full of mercy and good fruit. Impartial. Sincere. These qualities are what James tells us constitute wisdom from heaven. Qualities we could do with in all walks of life and in all spheres of governance. Qualities to which, if they were being offered today, I would say, ‘Yes please!’
But they are being offered today. St James tells us that, if we lack wisdom we should ask God, who will give generously to all. I suspect we should all be asking for wisdom, not just for the major decisions we make in our lives, but in the words we use to others and in the way we conduct ourselves, both in public and in private.
God is a God of his word, so let us take him up on his generous offer and ask him for the gift of wisdom for those in authority and for ourselves. And let us pray that heavenly wisdom becomes evident in our thoughts, our words and our deeds.
Generous God, I ask you for the gift of Heavenly Wisdom for myself and for all whose decisions affect the lives of others.
Immortal, invisible, God only wise.