Summary: What is most important for us this New Year? The answer is found in Solomon’s words in Proverbs.
Each year, over 1 billion eyes from all over the world are focused on the sparkling Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball. At 11:59 p.m., the Ball begins its descent as millions of voices unite to count down the final seconds of the year, and celebrate the beginning of a new year full of hopes, challenges, changes and dreams.
The Ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter and weighing almost 12,000 pounds, built to withstand the stresses of weather conditions to brightly shine over 400 feet above Times Square. For 2011, Waterford Crystal has designed 288 new “Let There Be Love” crystal triangles. Last year’s 288 triangles represented “Let There Be Courage” and 1,152 triangles sparkle with the "Let There Be Joy" design. The remaining 960 triangles represent the original "Let There Be Light" design. This ball is known as the “Star of Hope.”
It is a beautiful thing to watch at midnight in New York. Over a million people gather there each year no matter what the temperature outside or what the weather conditions might be. It’s beautiful on television and I can’t imagine how beautiful it is in person.
And if you are there in person and are so inclined, you can make a wish at the New Year’s Wishing Wall (sounds like a modern day Jerusalem Temple Wailing Wall.) You’ll write it on an official piece of New Year’s Eve confetti. All wishes will be collected and added to the 2000 pounds of confetti that flutters down at midnight onto the crowd gathered in Times Square in celebration of the New Year.
So the Time’s Square Crystal Ball represents lots of wishes, love, courage, joy, light and overall hope. But love, courage, joy, light and hope is not found in wishes or in a crystal ball. The world may be looking up to find them there, but Solomon tells us otherwise and I believe this is something we should think about as we anticipate the upcoming New Year.
King Solomon, King David’s son wrote his proverbs somewhere between 900 years and 1000 years before the birth of Christ. Perhaps some may have been written even before that. They pull together the most important 513 of the over 3000 proverbs he wrote. Proverbs means “To Be Like.” Proverbs are simple, moral statements that teach fundamental realities about life. In the beginning of his reign as King over Israel, he sought wisdom from God, the only source of true wisdom. He offered these sayings to help us contemplate the fear (love, reverence and respect) of God, living by God’s wisdom, and finding the sum of this wisdom through a relationship in Jesus Christ.
Let’s read this one Proverb together, Proverbs chapter 17 verse 24: “Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.” The translation known as “The Message” says it this way: The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; fools look for it everywhere but right here.
Proverbs 24 is saying that the wise man has a powerful future waiting for him because he keeps his eyes on wisdom. By contrast, the fool has his eyes on something else… his eyes are on the ends of the earth.
Let’s start by looking at foolish men and women. They are always searching the earth for the newest remedy, quick fix or the latest and greatest in most anything. I read of a story about a man picking strawberries in a strawberry patch. This man would pick a strawberry here… and then he’d look up and see another strawberry a couple of rows away and off he’d run to pick that berry. Then he would look up and see another berry a few plants away and off he’d go, again and again and again all across the patch. In the time it took him to fill one bucket others could fill ten.
His eyes were always wandering across the field looking for the easiest berries to find. And the fool is like that… he’s always looking for the easiest berry in the patch. He’s always seeking an easy way to get ahead in his life.
He’s the guy who invests in the future by buying lottery tickets.
He can’t keep a job because no job is good enough.
He can’t stay in one church, because no church is good enough.
There is always a rainbow waiting for them over the next hill. Their eyes wander constantly to the ends of the earth. They are constantly comparing themselves, their families, their jobs, and their potential to something else or to someone else. And they are never satisfied; they can’t find satisfaction in anything. And in the end, they have done less with their lives than they could have.