LEA Weekly Devotional
Week of September 24, 2006
Proper 20 (B)
Extended Reading: James 3:13–4:10
“Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts” (James 3:13 MSG).
Christians generally associate one thing with the word trinity. That’s the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But there are several other trinities—less-than-holy, of course! There’s the New Orleans cooking trinity: celery, onions, and peppers. There’s the trinity of bad news: Deaths come in threes. There’s the Minnesota lake vacation trinity: big mosquitoes, huge mosquitoes, and leviathan mosquitoes. And then there’s the wisdom trinity: Living well, living wisely, and living humbly (James 3:13).
Wise is an adjective that needs to describe every educator in a Lutheran ministry. Most of us don’t possess wisdom in quantities professed by the most well-known wise man, Solomon. Though wisdom predominated most of his career (as king!), one might think he became way too wise. If Ecclesiastes is any evidence, Solomon became a royal curmudgeon at some time in his life.
Anyway … wisdom is a vital asset for every educator. Wisdom often trumps knowledge and pedagogy. Truly memorable educators are those who live wisely, which includes living well and, very importantly, living humbly.
Where are you on the wisdom continuum?
The very question can be humbling! Especially if you’re not. Humble, that is. As far as a “how-to” tip is concerned, we can consult the Gospel for Proper 20: Mark 9:30–37, especially verse 35, which says, “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all” (MSG).
Being the “servant of all” requires much. It often means spending “extra” time to listen to a hurting—or venting—colleague, parent, or student. It often means doing more than is required—or remunerated. It often means being as good a follower as a leader when conditions require it. It certainly means understanding the Christ-modeled paradox of servant leadership.
Living well? On your salary?? Yes, it’s possible. Living well means living in contentment—satisfied with what God provides in blessings of time, talents, and treasures.
Okay, so now you’re ready to be wise—or you’re already there! “Not so fast,” you say?
Wisdom has several enemies. One is Satan. The other is your self. Often the two gang up on you in hopes that a team effort will lead to victory. When falling short of wisdom’s mark, we realize that wisdom is even more than elusive. It doesn’t well up from within ourselves. Wisdom has only one genuine source: God Himself through the blessing of faith in Jesus Christ (Proverbs 1 and 2).
Faith in Jesus reminds us that foolishness, a natural human condition, equates with sin. And sin leads us to the cross of Christ, where it was dumped once and for all times by our victorious and wise Savior. That one magnificent act, revealed to us through faith, is the foundation for all wisdom.
Want more wisdom? Read a Good Book. And ask God. He’ll give you exactly the wisdom you need.
Written by Ed Grube
© Copyright Lutheran Education Association
River Forest, Illinois
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