Back in the day, entertainer Jack Benny was famous for being frugal. In one comedy skit, a thug held him up at gunpoint, demanding, “Your money or your life!” Benny’s l-o-n-g pause had the audience in hysterics, before he finally confessed, “I’m thinking it over.” Too funny.
But when we ask the Lord the same question—“Which is worth more: our money or our lives?”—he doesn’t hesitate for a moment. Our hearts, our souls, our minds and the wisdom they contain—all matter a great deal more than cold, hard cash.
How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to get insight rather than silver! Proverbs 16:16
How much better…
We’re not talking a specific number—“wisdom is 93% more valuable than gold”—but increasing our store of wisdom is clearly “worth more” (JUB) than increasing our bank accounts. Wisdom is “preferable” (HCSB) because it’s more useful, more shareable, more long lasting, and “more precious” (DRA).
Cash is easily spent, never to be reclaimed. Yet wisdom can be freely given away without losing an ounce of it. How comforting is that?
More good news: Thieves can’t break in and steal your wisdom. Nor can you lose it somewhere in your kitchen. Whatever wisdom you possess, it’s yours to keep. Forever.
…to get wisdom than gold,…
Gold goes up and down in value, based on the whims of the marketplace.
Wisdom only increases.
So, how do we “acquire” (NET) wisdom? How do we “gain” (CJB) or “receive” (VOICE) it? By spending many fruitful hours in God’s Word, for starters. Tucking his truth in our minds, like seeds in fertile soil. Drinking up his living water. Basking in the warmth of his love.
A few semesters at the School of Hard Knocks helps too. At least, that’s how it works at my house. I learn everything the hard way. I learn when I fail, not when I succeed. I learn by foolishly trying things my way, before humbly doing them God’s way.
(Hands up if any of that sounds familiar. Bless you.)
We can also gain “skillful and godly Wisdom” (AMP) by sitting at the feet of those who are wiser than we are. Listening intently to them, instead of offering an opinion. Nodding in agreement, rather than looking for something to argue about.
In a culture that worships money, those who worship God are called to seek something higher, something finer. As the old hymn says, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be his than have riches untold.”
Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.
…to get insight rather than silver!
As Eugene Peterson puts it, “Choose insight over income every time” (MSG).
Insight is wisdom applied. It’s “knowledge” (GNT) and “understanding” (ASV) in action. It’s “good judgment” (NLT) and “prudence” (DRA) put to practical, everyday use.
Who needs “some silver prize” (VOICE), when we can have the deep satisfaction of pleasing God? “Well done, good and faithful servant!” is sweeter than any supervisor’s praise or bonus added to our paycheck.
“But, Liz, we need money to pay for groceries, for utilities, for gasoline at $3.68 per gallon.” Got it. This isn’t a matter of either/or, of choosing money or wisdom. God is merely helping us see which one matters most.
Now it’s your turn
- The CEV translation sums up this verse, “It’s much better to be wise and sensible than to be rich.” How might you convince a teenager of that truth?
Thanks for taking a moment to Post a Comment below. Can’t wait to learn from your wisdom!
Hope to squeeze in two short studies this week, so we can get back to our weekly Wednesday visits. I’m learning tons from our study of Proverbs and pray you are too!
Your sister, Liz