At the risk of dredging up deeply submerged memories, imagine you are chosen captain of your gym class basketball team and are given the task of selecting a winning starting line-up. Now imagine that you have in front of you: 1) your best friend, smiling securely in confidence that he or she will be chosen first; 2) the school bully, glaring at you threateningly; and 3) several classmates who are loudly and unashamedly shouting out their qualifications in hopes of being chosen early in the process. No one wants to be last. On what basis would you select your team?
The input, both spoken and unspoken, is overwhelming. It is simply too noisy to accurately discern qualifications or to make a wise choice.
But wait! There is one more person in the class who you almost overlooked because he or she is not demanding attention or begging to be chosen. Instead, this person is quietly shooting baskets at the other end of the gym. Swish after swish after swish.
Now who would you choose first?
Our world is full of loud voices demanding that we buy particular products, vote for certain candidates, and attend to ever-multiplying media inputs. Sometimes I think there is an inverse relationship between the volume of a message and its worthiness. Wisdom is quiet, for it is secure in its worth, while foolishness tends to compensate in volume for what it lacks in substance.
What do you think? How do you judge the worthiness of a message? Can you find true wisdom in all the noise?
“There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, ‘Wisdom is better than strength.’ But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. The quite words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” King Solomon’s wise observation recorded in Ecclesiastes 9:14-17
Hey Judy…as I again read the scripture reference in Ecclesiastes, the wise one was the poor man, not remembered, whose wisdom was despised and whose words were no longer heeded. Oh yea…and his words were quiet, too. Let’s review the wise guys stats : poor, soft spoken, not remembered, wisdom despised and words not heeded. I know that one who speaks with wisdom is not always looked at and received in this way, but it convicted me to think that any one of the characteristics described would be a deterrant for me to participate in the dispensing of wisdom. As you said, may we not be fooled by foolishness.
Yet, the wise guy saved the town, apparently before he was dismissed and forgotten. That gives me hope that if things get desperate enough, fewer people will be fooled. Interesting that Solomon wrote that “the quiet words of the wise” are of more worth than the “shouts of a ruler of fools.” He didn’t call the ruler a fool, but those who follow him. Is he suggesting that the people are fools for following a ruler who is more bombastic than wise?
I’m just wondering about being a mother of quiet wise words, or a shouter. Won’t divulge any inside information on that one.
As you have indicated, wisdom doesn’t yell, “Pick me, pick me!” But it is reliably there, through the Holy Spirit, should we silence external and internal clamor. I think of your example of picking teammates. I certainly wouldn’t want to disappoint my best friend, nor make the bully mad. And I’d listen to the qualifications of the others, not wanting to look like a fool, choosing a losing team. (especially given that my first two picks were made more out of fear than proven talent). How I long to make more decisions in life, from that quiet, receptive place where wisdom reveals itself. And for me, the reason that the clamor entices me, is that it makes me focus on ME and how my decision will effect ME….cold shoulder from my friend, perhaps a punch in the nose from the bully, mocking if I pick a losing team, disappointed teammates if we lose. So back to the “worthiness of the message.” I guess I would endeavor to sift the messages through scriptural truth and then go with what has come to me in my quiet, listening time with the Lord. What a skill to develop….taking time to stop, listen, hear, and act upon the Lord’s heart and mind on any matter. Off to go to sleep. It’s quiet when I sleep. Will wisdom come to me there? 🙂
That is my desire too, Sue. I’m easily influenced by emotions and expecations, as you point out, all about ME, that unless I am very purposeful about listening and waiting sorting out truth from feelings, I get fooled by foolishness. Thanks for your wise thoughts:)
Hey Judy…still thinking about a response. I did look up the Ecclesiates verses…I believe they are from Chapter 9, verses 14-17. Verse 6 says, “Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.” BTW, love your new picture and quote about God connecting with you. 🙂 Be back after some pondering. Thanks for your thoughtful posts.
Oops. Right you are – thanks. I look forward to your pondering…now off to fix the reference.