Close

July 19, 1995

The Importance of Practical Wisdom

Share With Friends

All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise”—but this was beyond me. Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound— who can discover it? So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly. ECCLESIASTES 7:23-25
Sometimes wisdom is hard to grasp. Great philosophical thinkers leave us in the dust. We don’t really understand their first argument, much less the conclusion they draw fifteen steps later. Ethical theories are complicated and don’t really help us make good decisions at all.
So if we want to be wise, what should we do?
Solomon makes it clear that wisdom includes a daily and constant dose of God’s Word. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we will develop lives of wisdom with actions that follow if we don’t understand and know God’s Word.
But Solomon adds something else in this passage. He suggests that if we really want to understand wisdom, we can become students of the “scheme of things” (Ecclesiastes 7:25), or how things really work. We can study the motives behind the actions, the meaning behind the words, and the reasons for changes in direction.
When Solomon—the ultimate realist—suggests that we understand the scheme of things, he is begging us to watch the world with careful eyes and to see what goes on in our daily work context in much the same way that we would observe a case study. We should study how people get ahead. We should listen to the nuances in suggestions that are made and decisions that are announced. Our purpose is to chronicle our findings and then, over time, begin to anticipate things ahead of time.
Solomon is essentially asking us to use our experience as a way of building wisdom. What good is an experience-rich resume if we have not turned that experience into wisdom by becoming an expert in how things really happen?
We don’t live in a perfect world. We won’t until Jesus comes again. But we can navigate an imperfect world, at least in part, by being observant about what goes on around us.

Share With Friends