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Better than Wealth

posted Aug 23, 2016, 6:52 PM by Kelly Griffin
A man met a friend on the street and said, “Hey, Joe, I hear your boy started college this year. What’s he going to study? Medicine, engineering, law, perhaps? What does he want to become?” Joe replied, “That I’m not sure about. Right now the big question is, is he going to become a sophomore?”

I imagine a lot of parents have the same concern at the start of a new school year. Forget about rocket science; let’s just get to the next grade!

But as much of a concern as that is, I think there is a bigger one. The incredible fact is that through childbirth, God has given mankind the ability to create life – life that will have an eternal existence. That is a sobering thought, and poses a bigger dilemma than whether that child is going to be an astronaut, an accountant or a farmer. 

Someone has said, “Most people are more concerned about where their kids are going to college than where they are going to spend eternity.” That’s why Scripture suggests that knowledge alone is not sufficient. God advises, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding” (Prov. 3:13). To emphasize the extreme importance of this advice He went on, “How much better to get wisdom than gold!” (Prov. 16:16). Better than wealth makes it pretty important, does it not?

So what is wisdom? A typical answer would say knowledge is the collection of facts; wisdom is knowing how to interpret those facts and what to do with them. That’s a good starting point.

But God takes it one step further than that. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Prov. 9:10). Ultimate wisdom comes from knowing and revering God – from understanding and pursuing His ways. Given that we were created in the first place to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, doesn’t it follow that failure to know, love and appreciate Him will leave a gap in our lives that cannot be filled in any other way – no matter how hard we try?

Solomon further advises on the source of wisdom: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). This points us straight to Scripture as the ultimate source for knowing God and deriving principles to live by. There is nothing we could do that would contribute more to our future happiness and success of our children than to introduce them to a lifelong study of and commitment to God’s Word. All the wisdom of a benevolent Creator is waiting there to be mined, discovered and practiced. 

Perhaps you would expect advice like that from a pastor, but if you will allow me a personal note, it was principles derived from Scripture that I found most sustaining, productive and lasting through a lengthy career as a business executive. God’s wisdom extends to every aspect of business, financial, personal, marriage and family life. It works; it brings true happiness and you never really get to the bottom of it. 

Education is great, but it is not the end-all. I find it interesting that at the beginning of history, God put mankind in perfect environment with the simplest of tests and man succumbed to the lies of Satan. According to Revelation 20:1-15, at the end of history, and after a perfect thousand-year reign by Jesus Christ Himself, that same enemy will be able to gather a host of rebels. What’s the point? It’s not about a perfect environment or a stunning education. It’s about the human heart. And only the wisdom of God can change that.

So, as we seek to give our kids a good education, we must also remember: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom” (Prov 4:7). We owe it to ourselves – and we owe it to them.

Dave McNeff is Pastor of Eaton Congregational Church, a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference,

Published in The Tribune on August 20, 2016.