Thought for the day – Wednesday 10 June
June 10, 2020
For all of us, life, in general, is a mixture of events and experiences. Who we are and what we are is shaped by what we are taught, and by the many influences, we have encountered and still encounter each day. We are not, however, defined by any one single thing as each day we continue to grow and learn. Our moods alter, our feelings are at times unpredictable and we are at the mercy of circumstances outwith our control. We never ultimately ‘arrive’ it seems, at being the ‘complete individual’. Each day brings something new or old to bear in our minds. We look back and forth.
I doubt if there is anyone who could honestly say they have no regrets, and that their life’s path has been smooth and that they have been happy all their days. If you are one such individual you are most fortunate indeed and are a probable rarity in human existence, a unique specimen.
If we make ‘good decisions’ in life, you would think it should be only reasonable to expect good results and outcomes. The problem is, of course, how do we know that our decisions are good ones or not, we only realise this later on if things have turned out as we expected or otherwise. Decision making is not easy, even more, difficult is the execution of what has been decided, the actions to follow.
We need to try and make things work do we not. Sitting back, watching and waiting for things to happen is akin to fatalism. We are not fatalists, we have a say in how ‘things’ will be. What we decide to do or not do affects us and those around us. It is this ‘decision making’ that is the point of my thoughts about today’s passages.
We all need guidance, advice and direction. We learn from those who have gone before us, we learn from history we learn from our mistakes, or do we? Life has many pitfalls and many promising vistas open up before us, the lure and promise of easy adventures are so appealing and enticing that it seems there is no need to heed anyone. We can make up our own minds thank you very much! As some folk say, ‘It’s a no brainer’.
We know our own minds do we not? Young folk of every generation think they know better and that any warnings or advice offered is just interference from oldies who are out of touch. Sometimes they are right and oldies are out of touch but usually not. They have learned and acquired wisdom in the process of living, attending the ‘school of hard knocks’ and acquiring a first-class honours degree in the ‘university of life’.
Wisdom and knowledge are not the same things. If you think about this distinction I trust that you will come to the same conclusion as me. The accumulation of knowledge is not the essence of wisdom. Wisdom is found in paying heed to the wise. Foolishness is not paying heed, knowledge itself will not make you wise.
In today’s readings from the Gospel and from Proverbs both Jesus and, before him, Solomon speak about wisdom and folly. If you read through Proverbs you will find this recurring theme of the house built on wisdom as a solid foundation and its rooms filled with priceless treasures.
Jesus would have been familiar with the teachings of Solomon and those attributed to him. Jesus is thinking about the two builders may have had in mind something that Solomon said. It is not unreasonable to think so.
The house built on the rock stood still, the house built on the sand was a disaster, a case of ‘abandoned engineering’. The lesson is clear. Each day we have to decide on something. In the scale of importance what path lies before you today? What decisions will you have to make and where will they lead? How does what we read in our passages help us?
Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things.
God bless you!
PROVERBS 1: 1-9
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behaviour,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings ruin.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.
The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die.
Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord — how much more do human hearts!
Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.
Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.
A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.
A person finds joy in giving an apt reply — and how good is a timely word!
The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.
The Lord tears down the house of the proud, but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.
The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight.
The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live.
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.
Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honour.
MATTHEW 7: 24-27
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