by Leona Bergstrom, Director, Re-Ignite
While it is true I yearn for sage insights, wisdom doesn’t come automatically with the passing of years alone. American comedian Tom Wilson is quoted as saying, “Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up by itself.”
Almost synonymous with the word “wisdom” is the name Solomon. After all, he was not only a great king who governed his people with integrity and renowned good judgment; he was an esteemed philosopher, writer and teacher. Scholars widely agree that many of the words recorded in the Book of Proverbs are those of a reflective statesman and father writing counsel to the next generations. “My Son,” is often the prelude to words of exhortation pointing toward artful living and godly choices.
I often consider how Solomon got so wise. While the opening words of the book of Proverbs say the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7), I wonder, where is the starting point for wisdom?
It seems that wisdom comes through the difficult work of analytically processing life. Solomon had the writings of his father, the great King David, who through his years had lived in the finest of palaces but also in the darkest of caves. His poetry, psalms and songs reflected a level of introspection rare in most of our personal experience. Solomon must have thought long and hard about this heritage, even as he examined life around him. His confidence that God could be trusted was seared by his own disconnect between faith and reality. His personal wrestling match with knowledge, experience, faith and life are public record in Ecclesiastes. Some of his conclusions are rather dire and almost depressing, but his quest for wisdom will forever be inspiring.
The final statements in Ecclesiastes say of the writer, “He pondered and searched out… and what he wrote was upright and true.” A final admonition: “Fear God and keep his commandments,” (Ecclesiastes12:13).
Dr. Monika Ardelt, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Florida, has done extensive research in the area of wisdom and how it relates to aging. She states that wisdom is the rediscovery of the significance of old truths through a deeper and more profound understanding of events. She adds that while wise people do not necessarily learn more facts than other individuals, they comprehend the deeper meaning for themselves.
How am I doing at being wise? Am I living a life that has been marinated in God’s word? Am I acquiring wisdom found in deep contemplation and thought?
My personal goal: I don’t want to just grow old. I want to grow wise.
That’s also the object of the ministry of Re-Ignite. We want to encourage others to reflect, assimilate and seek understanding.