Sometimes I substitute “perspective” for the word “wisdom.” I know they’re not exactly the same thing, but I think perspective is one way we get to see a facet of what wisdom looks like, sort of like the stream of blue in a rainbow that comes from a prism.
“The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” — Proverbs 4:7, NIV
Perspective is in low supply here in the States. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way. It’s just a fact. We live sheltered. We don’t live without heartache. We don’t live without pain. We just live with limited perspective.
I think sometimes we also struggle with a bit of a god-complex. We know the world needs changing, and we assume that we are the ones to do it.
We are used to taking responsibility.
But is the responsibility ours to take?
To be sure, we play a part. My reaction to you matters. My decision to reuse bags or add to the dumps of the world matters.
My choice to love the compulsive liar who needs to feel unconditional acceptance matters. My commitment to be faithful — or not — matters.
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Recently I read a great post by Shaun Groves about our decisions to live with “just God and enough,” and I keep up with the 58: campaign that encourages us to embrace Fast Living as demonstrated in Isaiah 58.
I hear these messages and they resonate with my soul and with every fiber of my being, and I applaud and stand behind and join with them.
But I still struggle for perspective.
Maybe I’m the only one who struggles here. Maybe I’m a stereotype of my idealistic generation. Maybe I’m a byproduct of this hybrid Type A / High Achiever personality.
I find my natural perspective pretty easily reinforced.
But when I break it down through the prism of wisdom that I think has been given by the Holy Spirit — brought into focus by some international travel and friendships forged in a church that is living day-to-day in the reality of a world very different from my own — I end up suspecting that I have a lot more to learn from the world than I have to give it.
I’m still going to love that person who offers me a very attractive alternative attitude.
I’m still going to do my best to make environmentally conscious decisions.
Not long ago I emptied my savings and retirement accounts to continue my sponsorships with Compassion, and more recently I have taken to selling a few things out of my apartment to help make up the difference where monthly funds fall short.
It’s not that God can’t provide for these kids from somewhere or someone else. It’s just that this is a small area where I can be faithful.
I’m not changing the world (blow to my ego that it is), but I am doing one thing that can be done and trusting Jesus with the rest.
You might actually change the world. That might be your calling.
For the rest of us, maybe wisdom is calling us to be faithful today. Faithful in a small thing. Tomorrow, it will ask us to be faithful again.
I’m thankful for this ounce of perspective. Maybe one day, with its help, I will have a little of what God calls “wisdom.”
“Wisdom is a shelter, as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves those who have it.” — Ecclesiastes 7:12, NIV