Summary: Uses the words of James to paint a picture of a wise Godly leader.
- Whenever I would go down to Florida to visit my grandmother, or I called her Oma, when I was a child. I could always count on a visit to the Toy Store in the local Mall. I knew it was coming, and I would think about that little trip weeks in advance. Because I knew that whenever we would take that trip to the Toy Store, my Oma would say to me, "Damien, look around the store, and pick out one item, one toy that you want and I will get it for you." Talk about pressure. One out of so many. How in the world was a kid to make such an important decision. But every summer we would walk into that Toy Store, I would look around, up one aisle down the other until eventually I would have to make that tough decision.
- And so God came to Solomon, the great King Solomon and in I Kings 3, God says to Solomon in a dream, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." In this entire world, what is that you want Solomon. Of all things you can choose, riches, power, women, of all the things to choose from which one will you choose. And of all the things he could have chosen, what did Solomon choose.... wisdom. Or as Solomon put it... discernment between right and wrong. Wisdom.
- All of us want to be wise people, don't we? Now don't mistake me, and think I said smart people. No, wisdom and intellect are two different items. We are tallking about wisdom, wisdom that allows us to determine in our life what is right and wrong, good and bad, positive and negative. Wisdom is that ability to handle the situations life offers us and know what the next course of action is to be. Wisdom is that strength of character that is able to do what is right and good, no matter the consequence or danger. Wisdom seeks for the good of not only ourselves, but those around us.
- But where do we get such wisdom? After all their are many voices our there, many different people who believe they have the answers, who believe they are the true source of wisdom. Our schools offer wisdom, the media offers wisdom, Hollywood offers wisdom. There is wisdom that comes from friends and family. Wisdom from so many sources and so often it all becomes confusing, because they contradict each other.
- Well, this morning we are going to take a look at James 3:13ff and we will see two sources of wisdom. And when we talk about wisdom as James describes it, we must remember that James is coming from a Jewish perspective. Wisdom for a Jew was not some heady, intellectual, philosophical, airy type of concept. Wisdom for a Jew was something practical, lived out, filled with action. Wisdom for a Jew sounded something like this... "Faith without deeds is dead." Wisdom for a Jew is seen and acted out, and lived out, not simply spoken about.
- So James begins his discussion on wisdom by addressing once again, teachers and leaders of the church. Remember last weeks exclamation mark. Remember James has already singled out the leaders of the church in verse 1 where he writes.... "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." And now James picks up on that line of thinking in verse 13 when he writes....
- When James writes, "wise and understanding," that is a cliche, an expression for the teachers and leaders of the church. He is clearly addressing them in this passage. No question about it, his focus is on the teachers of the church, the elders, the deacons, the ministers. He is looking them square in the eyes and speaking to them from the heart.
- It's like what my father used to do whenever I got into trouble, which was often. He was a tall man at 6'4" and so whenever he got serious about my misconduct, he would stoop down, lightly put his hand on my shoulder, and look me square in the eyes so that there would be no missing what he was about to say to me.
- Well James is bending down, he's putting his hands on the shoulders of all the teachers and leaders here this morning and he is looking us square in the eyes and saying to us, "This is what a wise godly leader looks like." He is saying there is wisdom and then there is wisdom. There is the wisdom of the world, and then there is wisdom from above, from God. Now since he is looking the leaders square in the eye, does that mean those of you who are not leaders yet, should tune this sermon out. Obviously not, because, all who are a part of this church, who love this church have the responsibility of looking around you, looking at yourself, looking at the leaders and making sure that the leaders of this church fit the description given by James as to what a wise godly leader looks like.