Original Posting At https://jacobjuncker.wordpress.com/2018/09/03/wisdom-cries-out/
These thoughts were offered at Franklin United Methodist Church on Sunday, September 2, 2018. This message was based upon a reading from Proverbs 1:20-33. This is message is part of a Back to School series based upon the first chapter of Proverbs.
I have developed a handout to accompany this teaching and, hopefully, further the discussion in your home or small group. You can download it here.
What is common sense?
Is common sense common?
Several quick observations might suggest that common sense isn’t so common. If it were, would we need warning signs on irons telling us not to iron with our clothes on? Or warning labels that tell us that peanuts contain peanuts and those with a peanut allergy should avoid them? The reality is that for as smart as we humans seem to be, we often do pretty ignorant things; and, sometimes we need to be told and reminded of the obvious.
Common sense isn’t common. It has to be learned; and, even then, our judgment often lacks. We hurt ourselves. We hurt each other. And, we do it all, all too often. Common sense, it has been said, is so rare that it should be classified as a super power.
Wisdom cries out.
It’s a frantic scene depicted in our reading for today.
20-21 Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.
At the busiest corner she calls out:
22-24 “Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?
About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;
I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;
I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me. (Proverbs 1:20-24, The Message)
Wisdom is desperate to be heard. She stands at the busiest places of life shouting at the top of her lungs; and, yet she is so often ignored. Why?
Before we can answer that question, it might behoove us to stop for a second and consider what wisdom is and how it is differentiated from knowledge. The distinction, at least for me, is really quite simple: knowledge can be attained apart from a relationship while wisdom is rooted and finds life in relationship.
Humanity’s thirst for knowledge is insatiable. Our ability to store and acquire it is remarkable. With the advent of the internet and so called “smart devices,” we find ourselves in an information age that puts the world’s knowledge at our fingertips; and, yet, we are not always the wiser for it. Knowledge can be acquired apart from a relationship. You can read and learn about the power inside an atom, but it is what we do with that knowledge that makes us wise or not.
Wisdom takes what we know and helps us help others. Wisdom seeks to build others up; and, uses what we know to benefit others.
The opposite of knowledge is ignorance (not knowing). The opposite of wisdom is sin—the breakdown of relationship with God and others. Using the words of Paul to the church at Philippi, wisdom does nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regards others as better that itself. The wise look out not for their own interest, but to the interests of others (see Philippians 2:3-4, New Revised Standard Version).
Wisdom seeks to train us in righteousness—to “right” our relationships with God and one another. Wisdom seeks to turn weapons of war into plowshares and pruning hooks (see Isaiah 2:4). Wisdom finds a way to make the wolf to live with the lamb, the leopard with the kid, and the calf and the lion: together in harmony (see Isaiah 11:6).
Wisdom calls out. She screams at the top of her lungs to be heard. “No one can claim that he or she has not heard Wisdom’s voice, that they did not know.” Wisdom stands at the intersection of all life’s moments. Wisdom seeks to be heard till wisdom is as common as the sense we think everyone ought to have.
May God open our eyes and ears that we may see and hear wisdom and take heed of her words—that we might live in peace and grow in love of God and others. And, then, may God open our mouths that we might echo wisdom’s call that her words might be more common than common sense.
Amen? and amen.
 Raymond C. Van Leeuwen, “Proverbs 1:22-31 Commentary” in The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997), vol. V, p40.