Read Proverbs 1:1-6
Highly successful college basketball coach, John Wooden, is quoted as saying, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Wooden’s quote reminds us of the importance of always being in a learning mindset. Similarly, Albert Einstein said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” These successful and brilliant men stress the importance of spending a lifetime learning. They also remind us that no matter how wise or knowledgeable one may appear, there is always something more which can, and should, be learned.
When it comes to our faith and understanding of God, this could not be more true. Our passage for today comes from the book of the Bible named Proverbs. A Google search of the word proverb gives this definition: “a short pithy saying in general use, stating a general truth or piece of advice.” The proverbs found in this book are usually credited to Solomon who was considered to be the wisest king of the Israeli people. It is a collection of sayings and insights intended to assist the people of God in learning who God is, who they are, and how Gad intends them to live. These first verses are encouragement for the people to continue to always be learning.
We have not only the book of Proverbs but the Bible as a whole which invites us to continue to learn about our faith, our God, and ourselves. Add to this the insights provided by mothers and fathers in our faith and we have no limits in what is available to us from which to learn. Fellow believers and faith leaders of today continue to add to the lessons available to us.
None of us know all. Every day we are given the opportunity to learn and grow in our faith. Praise be to our Lord for the people and the learning given to us throughout our lives.
Read Proverbs 3:5-6
As some people become older, they can begin to have stability issues. Others have medical issues which impair their ability to walk or stand without some form of assistance. A variety of mobility aids have been developed and improved overtime. Canes, walkers, braces and other medical devices have provided individuals something to lean on and receive support as their own stability has been diminished. Due to these forms of assistance, people have maintained some level of independence and safety.
Among the wisdom sayings attributed to King Solomon, we hear advice on seeking aid in our lives. This wisdom should be applied every day.
Trust in the Lord — As we go through life we are given opportunities to make decisions about where we place our trust. Politicians, religious leaders, companies, financial institutions, all call upon us to trust them. Many times we experience a breaking of that trust. We may come to the conclusion that we can only trust ourselves. But here we are told to trust in the Lord. The Lord’s track record is very strong. No one has ever experienced broken promises or unreliability where the Lord is concerned.
Do not rely on your own insight — Another translation of this portion of the verse is, “do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV) The imagery in the second translation seems to be stronger. Whichever translation is used, the idea of not going on one’s own is communicated. Trusting our own perceptions and interpretations independent of others, especially the Lord is discouraged. Seeking the assistance of God brings stability and wisdom into our lives.
In all your ways acknowledge him — The Lord should be a part of every aspect and decision of one’s life. Finding the hand of God daily active in one’s life provides assurance and direction. The guidance of the Lord causes one to stumble less and provides stronger possibilities of avoiding pitfalls.
He will make straight your paths — The Lord can clarify the way to go through life. Instead of wandering aimlessly as one goes from one decision to another, the path can be direct and with less hazards. Seeking the Lord’s guidance in making decisions will provide a clarity in purpose and vision.
May the wisdom of Solomon take root in each of our lives.
Read Proverbs 4:23
The Mississippi River is the second longest river in North America. It begins in northern Minnesota and flows south to the Gulf of Mexico, south of New Orleans. The origin of the river is Lake Itasca, a small glacial lake. Being a glacial lake, the water is cold and clear although as the Mississippi River flows south on its journey to the gulf, it acquires much of the sediment and objects flowing into it from tributaries and land on its path. Keeping the origin of the river free from contamination is an important goal of volunteers and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The verse chosen for today comes from the Book of Proverbs. This book of the Bible is a collection of wisdom sayings, many attributed to King Solomon of Israel. This particular verse makes reference to our hearts. Of course, the writer is not referring to our biological heart but instead is referring to the core and origin of our life. The wisdom here is to guard this core since it is the source of all which flows through and out of our lives. Keeping the core undamaged and free of contamination is important so we can experience and contribute positive aspects into our lives and the lives of others.
Like the people who strive to keep Lake Itasca healthy as the source of the great Mississippi River, we are charged in Proverbs to diligently keep our center of life healthy. The Mississippi River provides life to millions of humans and animals along its path and for hundreds of miles in each direction from its banks. Our heart does the same for all with whom we come in contact. Any contamination can and will have a negative impact. We must be mindful of any influence we allow on our hearts.