Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works. There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it. A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15 NLT).
The only person who had the wisdom to save that ancient biblical town was not a leader… nor was he wealthy or considered in any way important. He’s called a poor wise man. Indeed, practical wisdom is often more present among those who have not prospered from the world’s economy. Some of the wisest of people are often found among those who are poor, uneducated, overlooked, or even oppressed… people living in the margins of the world, not at the center.
The Bible records a similar story from the time of King David. His army was attacking a small town in which a rebel leader was hiding. This time it’s a woman…a wise woman, Scripture says… who persuaded David’s commanding general to not destroy the entire town. Instead, this wise woman offered a plan that her people would turn over the rebel if Joab would leave the town alone. And it was done, and the people were spared.
The Corinthians were so much like American Christians in that they tended to value strength more than wisdom. They wanted what looked like success to the rest of the world. This is a common temptation in religion, and they fell for it…hook, line, and sinker. And so Paul challenged them on that…
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise (I Corinthians 1:26 NLT).
That’s encouraging, isn’t it? But here’s the problem… wise people of any kind, wise people who are poor or powerless are not often rewarded or remembered. No one bothered to record the name of the wise woman of II Samuel 20. Or the name of the wise man in the story in Ecclesiastes. In fact, the people of that town not only forgot his name but also forgot to thank him!…
So, do you wish to be wise and likely forgotten? Wise and likely ridiculed? Wise and likely regarded as foolish by those who think they are wise? Or is seeking wisdom not worth that cost?
By Tony Blair