Summary: Wisdom is demonstrated often at Church business meetings. Not by the decisions made but in the way they are made. Are our meeting marked by strife or unity?
The Hebrews who clearly understood that true wisdom was not intellectual, but behavioral. Thus, the biggest fool was one who knew truth and failed to apply it.
A minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot added, “I should have one of he parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he took one and jumped.
The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So he took one and jumped.
The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad smile said, “You are young and I have lived a rich life, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.”
The boy Scout said, “Relax, Reverend, the smartest man in the world just picked up my knapsack and jumped out!
Job asks: “But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?” (28:12) and then he answers, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (28:28)
True wisdom, the wisdom from above, is not a matter of how much one knows but of how much one trusts, loves, and obeys the Lord.
In James 3:13-18 James offers wisdom as still another test of living faith. The kind of wisdom a person possesses will be revealed by the kind of life he lives (v. 13). Those who possess the wisdom of man, the wisdom from below, will demonstrate by their lives that they have no saving relationship to Jesus to Jesus Christ and no desire to worship, serve, or obey Him (vv. 14-16). Those, on the other hand, who possess genuine saving faith will manifest the wisdom of God, the wisdom from above (vv. 17-18)
I. CONTRADICTION IN OBSERVATION
This section applies to everyone in the churches to whom James was writing, true believers and mere professed believer. James is seeking to identify who is truly skilled in the art of righteous living. “In what way are you wise?” he is asking, in effect, “and in what way are you understanding? The answer will reveal not only your inner character but the spiritual condition of your soul.”
It is hard to find a self-professed fool. Most people have and elevated and unrealistically high opinion of their wisdom, although they might not say so but you can tell.
There was a typical blond. She had long, blond hair, blue eyes, and she was sick of all the blond jokes. One day, she decided to get a make over, so she cut and dyed her hair. She also went out and bought a new convertible. She went driving down a country road and came across a herd of sheep. She stopped and called the sheep herder over.
“That’s a nice flock of sheep” she said.
“Well thank you” said the herder.
“Tell you what. I have a proposition for you” said the woman. “If I can guess the exact number of sheep in your flock, can I take one home?”
“Sure” said the sheep herder.
So, the girl sat up and looked at the herd for a second and then replied “382".
“Wow” said the herder. “That is exactly right. Go ahead and pick out the sheep you want to take home.”
So the woman went and picked one out and put it in her car.
Then, the herder said “Okay, now I have a proposition for you”.
“What is it?” Queried the woman.
“If I can guess the real color of your hair, can I have my dog back?”
James is saying, “If you claim wisdom and understanding show it first by your good behavior, your exemplary lifestyle.” As with faith, wisdom and understanding that are not demonstrated in righteous, godly living are devoid of spiritual value. James goes on to admonish readers to show their wisdom and understanding by their good deeds. Believers are also to demonstrate wisdom and understanding by an attitude of gentleness (meekness = “power under control”), People who are wise in their own eyes are generally arrogant about it.
A rider on horseback, many years ago, came across a squad of soldiers who were trying to move a heavy piece of timber. A corporal stood by, giving lordly orders to “heave.” but the piece of timber was a trifle too heavy for the squad.
“Why don’t you help them?” asked the quiet man on the horse, addressing the important corporal.
“Me? Why, I’m a corporal, sir!” Dismounting, the stranger carefully took his place with the soldiers.