Summary: James gives the believer instruction on knowing false wisdom from True Wisdom.
Sermon: A Different Kind of Wisdom
Scripture: James 3: 13 – 18
Today I would like to talk about ‘A Different Kind of Wisdom’…one that promotes in a man or woman the fruit for living now and eternally…one that instructs both for the now and the hereafter…one that creates a relationship first with God and then also with our fellowman. It’s an attribute that everyone would like to have…that everybody wants, but few seem obtain it.
True Wisdom may be different than you might think. It does not begin in this world and it does not end in this world. True Wisdom comes first from God and from His everlasting steadfastness.
And the reason that I’m encouraged to believe this is because of a statement I read the other day…it said,
“We are not human beings having a Spiritual experience here, but we are Spiritual beings having a human experience.” Let me say that one more time…’We are not human beings having a Spiritual experience, but we are Spiritual beings have a human experience.”
Just let that soak in for a moment. Because, you know, it gives you a whole different perspective. It says to you and me that there is more to life than what we find in this world and that when we believe ourselves to be more than just flesh and blood, we open a window…a window to the eternal-ness of our own souls.
When you look at yourselves in this way, you will begin to wonder and ask yourselves, ‘How are we ever going to make it...how are we ever going manage an eternal life, let alone, just this life, in this world. You then begin to realize how so important it is to have ‘A Different Kind of Wisdom’.
Our scripture begins this morning by asking the question…’Are there those among you who are truly wise and understanding?’ This morning, James, the author of this book, discusses the difference between true wisdom and false wisdom, and I would like to try my best to tell just a little of what I have read and learned this week on this subject…a subject that I found to be about…a different kind of wisdom.
You know, as we live our lives, we, in a sense plant seeds….little seeds of knowledge and wisdom. Our children watch us and learn from us. Other people, those around us, watch and learn from us, too. They take those seeds we have to give to them and they plant them into their own lives…and there they might grow.
We carry with us all kinds of seeds…seeds of morality…seeds of a work ethic…seeds of anger or seeds of love. Some people carry seeds of gentleness or goodness…some carry seeds of hate and evil…and some carry a seed of peace and tranquility.
I’d like to tell you a story of a boy who planted the seeds of peace with his life. These seeds of peace were in a boy named Heinz, in Europe, in 1934.
Hitler’s plague of anti-Semitism was infecting a whole continent. Some would escape it. Some would die from it. But eleven-year-old Heinz would learn from it. He would learn the wisdom and the power of sowing seeds of peace.
You see, Heinz was a Jew.
The Bavarian village of Furth, where Heinz lived, was being overrun by Hitler’s young thugs. Heinz’s Father, a schoolteacher, lost his job. Recreational activities ceased. And tension mounted on the streets of that town.
The Jewish families clutched the traditions that held them together…the observance of the Sabbath, of Rosh Hashanah, of Yom Kippur. Old ways took on new significance. As the clouds of persecution swelled and blackened, these ancient precepts were a precious cleft in a mighty rock. And as the streets became a battleground, such security meant survival for the Jewish people.
Hitler youth roamed the neighborhoods looking for trouble. Young Heinz learned to keep his eyes open. When he saw a band of troublemakers, he would step to the other side of the street. Sometimes he would escape a fight…sometimes not.
One day, in 1934, a pivotal confrontation occurred. Heinz found himself face-to-face with a Hitler bully. A beating appeared inevitable. This time, however, he walked away unhurt…not because of what he did, but because of what he said. He didn’t fight back; he spoke up. He convinced the troublemakers that a fight was not necessary. His words kept battle at bay. Right then, Heinz saw firsthand how the tongue, spoken from wisdom, can create peace.
He learned the skill of using words to avoid conflict. And for a young Jew in Hitler-ridden Europe, that skill had many opportunities to be honed and sharpened.
Fortunately, Heinz’s family escaped from Bavaria and they made their way to America. Later in life, he would downplay the impact those adolescent experiences had on his development. But one has to wonder. For after Heinz grew up, his name became synonymous with peace negotiations. His legacy became that of a bridge-builder. Somewhere he had learned the wisdom and power of the properly placed word of peace. And one has to wonder if his training didn’t come on the streets of Bavaria.