Nov 11, 2009, 1:27 PM
“But 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.” (James 3:17)
James, the brother of Jesus, makes a clear distinction between wisdom that is heavenly and wisdom that is “earthly, unspiritual and of the devil.” Our Lord Jesus illustrates this distinction in the parable known to us as the rich fool.
This man had a good harvest and all he could think of was to build bigger stores to stock them in. He did not think of giving thanks to God, of sharing with the poor or giving a tithe - (a tenth of what God had blessed him with). He said to himself; “This is what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself. You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” (Luke 12:18-19) Self-praise and selfishness are traits one must not seek to cultivate. The Bible teaches that we must honour God with our increase. The ‘rich fool’ earned himself the title because he was not wise. He did not give glory where it was due. “…though your riches increase, do not set your eyes on them.” (Psalm 62:10)
He failed to realise that the life he lived was not his own. This life we live is transitory. We are here today and gone tomorrow. It is not in material things that one should boast. After accumulating all this wealth, the rich fool was not going to live another day. “God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20) Have you been amassing wealth only to leave it behind for someone else to enjoy? Think again and be wise!
We are wise when we are vigilant and are on the alert. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians admonished that we do not know the day or the hour the Lord will be coming back. “For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5.2) He will return when we least expect him.
This was the case with the ten virgins; five of whom did not have enough oil in their lamps to welcome the bridegroom. When he arrived at midnight, the five wise virgins who did not store oil in cans could not go in with the bridegroom when he showed up.
The one who keeps watch will not to be taken by surprise. Our Lord Jesus calls on us to be like the wise servant. “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like the men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open for him.” (Luke 12:35) This is the attitude to adopt.
The scout is asked to be ready and be prepared but the Christian is required to be watchful. “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.” Here Jesus was talking about Himself. We must be prepared because his return will not be announced. There will be signs but the exact day is unknown. “You also must be ready, because the Son of man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Luke 12:40)
Mark you, this is not a question of watching out for danger. No! We have to be wise enough to prepare for tomorrow, the unexpected, so that we would not be taken unawares. We cannot say we were not warned. Throughout the Bible there is a constant warning for us not to be caught napping. It will be foolishness to say the master has taken a long time in coming therefore there is no need to worry or hurry. And behave otherwise.
Wisdom is when a man discovers treasure hidden in a field. (Matthew 13:44) or a pearl of great value and sold all he had to buy it. Wisdom is when your enemy decides to frustrate your efforts by planting weeds in your field at night and you are not worried about weeding them out wait just yet but you wait until it is time for the harvest. (The parable of the weeds Matthew 13:24-30) The shrewd manager who cut the bills of his master by half to secure for himself an existence after he is thrown out. (Luke 16:1-9) For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of light” (v.8)