All that wisdom

On a recent day trip to the Valley, I spent some time in a record store.

That was, by far, the most time I’ve been in any kind of store in a long time. Think of the phrase “a kid in a candy shop.” No matter what music store it is, I react the same way. There’s a moment I stand at the entrance to scan the layout. Then I bounce around from aisle to aisle, genre to genre.

There’s so much to miss in every basket. It’s almost overwhelming.

As a preacher, that’s what the book of Proverbs feels like. There is a structure to the wisdom book. Chapter headings help you see some of that. But a lot of times it feels like Proverbs changes subject from one verse to the next. Take Proverbs 22, for example. The chapter opens with wisdom about having a good name and integrity. Then there’s a word about fleeing from danger. After that, it’s on to humility and raising children.

I did a sermon series on various psalm readings once. That series took the most preparation time. The psalms are different than biblical stories or parables of Jesus. So, I really had to pay attention to what the Spirit was leading me to notice in those texts. I’ve never done a series on Proverbs. I think I’m too scared–there’s probably a proverb about that somewhere in the book. My imagination tells me I’d have a lot of preparing to do to preach from Proverbs.

Truth be told, I can only read so much of Proverbs at one time. It’s almost overwhelming.

What, then, do we make of all these scattered nuggets of wisdom? I have one thought for today.

I used to tease Gloria. In her study and devotional time, she would hear encouraging messages. Things people need to hear to get through hard times. She would hear those words and get worried. “Uh oh. What’s going to happen?” We learned together that what we learn isn’t always for us. We could relax. The Lord wasn’t always getting us ready to endure some hardship. Remember, God connects our lives. We are a part of each other’s path.

So, often, God speaks to me through you. And you through me.

When we read a chapter of Proverbs, there’s a lot to take in. Now, God might be speaking directly to your heart and some situation you’re facing at the moment. One verse of Proverbs may inspire some idea you need for your life today.

It could also be, though, this is a time for you to reflect on other aspects of life. As a result, maybe you’re going to be the wisdom someone else needs to hear soon. Maybe God is preparing you to bring meaning to an upcoming conversation.

If that’s the case, let’s not rush through Proverbs. Take time to reflect on your reading. You may find connections you hadn’t noticed before. And you may be getting ready to learn, share and live into the wisdom of God.

Stay blessed…john

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