Two families built identical new houses using the same kind of lumber, siding, and shingles. One of the homeowners, however, skimped on the amount of concrete used in the foundation. After a cold winter and spring rains, the house with the weak foundation is full of cracks and leaks.
A group of young women, excited to participate in their friend’s wedding, paid a dressmaker to create beautiful gowns for the big event. Some of them got everything ready ahead of time, but others procrastinated and planned to pick up their dresses at the last minute. When they arrived at the dressmaker’s shop on Saturday morning, the day of the ceremony, a sign on the shop door said, “Closed for Vacation.” The bridesmaids showed up at the wedding embarrassed and unprepared.
An investor made it big in the stock market. Every morning he drove his BMW to work, where his spacious upper-story office provided a spectacular view of the city skyline. On weekends he headed to the golf course and went night-clubbing with friends. He never prayed or went to church. Who has time for that, when you’re making money and having a good time? As his business prospered, the rich man bought vacation homes in Florida and California. He attributed his stomach pains to job-related stress, but his physician frowned as he scanned the test results. Shocked, the wealthy man learned he had stage four cancer and only months to live. Steering his BMW out of the doctor’s parking lot, he drove to his office, stared out the window, and wept.
Do you recognize these three stories? They are contemporary retellings of stories Jesus told about the Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27), the 10 Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), and the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21). In the latter parable, the Lord called someone foolish that most would call a success. It’s possible to be physically healthy, financially wealthy, skilled in business, and enjoying many pleasures, but at the same time be spiritually bankrupt. How foolish it is to ignore God and be unprepared to die!
In James 3:13-18, the brother of Jesus explained what it means to make wise choices.
True wisdom is practical. It’s a lifestyle marked by godly common sense. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life” (v. 13).
True wisdom makes us humble, not arrogant. It’s foolish to be cocky and puffed up with pride. Wisdom leads to “deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (v. 13).
True wisdom “comes from heaven” (v. 17). It’s a gift of God that enables us to see life from his point of view instead of allowing our personal whims and cultural trends to shape our worldview. We should pursue wisdom as if it were silver and “search for it as for hidden treasure” (Proverbs 2:4-6). God delights in giving wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5).
True wisdom is spiritually enriching. It makes those who possess it “pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (3:17).
King Solomon impressed the world with his wisdom, but someone “greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42). It’s foolish to ignore Jesus Christ, for in him are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Lesson based on The Lookout’s Scope and Sequence ©2018. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.