5/12/2019 – Proverbs 3:13-18, Beautiful Wisdom

Proverbs 3:13-18

“Beautiful Wisdom”
Over the years, we have heard phrases from mothers trying to keep us from harm such as; Don’t run with scissors
and we have heard famous sayings to teach us about lifesuch as; Money doesn’t grow on trees
and we have heard words when they don’t know what to say such as; Because I said so, That’s why.

Then over many more years when we become a mother or a father, we begin to hear these same words from our mouth being passed on to the next generation.
Although, these are great phrases and sayings, they may define for us wisdom.

If knowledge is identifying facts and information
If understanding is knowing the meaning of those facts and information
Then wisdom, is the application of them

Wisdom is action.
Hopefully, wisdom is applying the facts we understand for good,
to leave the world as a better place than when we found it.

Wisdom unfolds how we live;
how we honor our parents,
how we raise our kids,
how we spend our time,
how we handle our money,
how we use our words

We all have human wisdom. Human wisdom builds up over time with a sum of our experiences creating who we are on the inside and is then displayed outwardly in action

Last week, I found a journal of my grandmother’s that I gave to her as a gift and she wrote on the pages about her life that spanned over 5 years. These years were when I was in high school and early college. This journal seemed like the perfect resource to review the differences between facts, understanding and wisdom.

Grandmama wrote down facts and information.

She began each journal entry with the full date
Then wrote a few sentences about an event such as a birthday, wedding or a visit
She would described what she prepared for Sunday lunch
Wrote about the snow storms in Boone
And included various highlights from family to friends.

Through reading Grandmama’s facts and information, I began to understand the meaning behind these facts of her life from her perspective and a deeper meaning that she didn’t write down anything that was negative about an event or a person. I remember transferring colleges and lived with her for a semester as she recuperated from a hip surgery. It was odd to turn the page knowing what would happen in the story, because I lived it, however I wondered as I turned the page how she would write about this struggle in her life.

There was the fact she had surgery in December of 1997, and then no more words for a whole year. The pages without words taught me this was an extremely hard time in her life and therefore would rather have blank pages than negative words.

Grandmama’s journal helped me to find beautiful wisdom, some that was new and some that were good reminders

First, to live life by remembering the good in the people and the events we share together.

Second, being named after my grandmother, I laughed how similar we are. Not only do I share her first name as my middle name, but I share a habit of hers in journal writing. I have many journals like hers in my drawers and on shelves that include lots words on the front pages yet in the back many empty pages.

And lastly, we both seek out people who inspire us to love deeper and live better the ways of God in our life

For Grandmama this was Helen Steiner Rice…

who wrote the poem in the front of the journal and appears on the insert…

The more you give, the more you get.

The more you laugh, the less you fret

The more you do unselfishly, the more you live abundantly

The more of everything you share, the more you will always have to spare
The more you love, the more you’ll find, that life is good and friends are kind

For only what you give away, enriches us from day to day.

Human wisdom is a great gift and we can find that in a variety of places, people and experiences. As believers we see divine wisdom as an indescribable gift of how to live in a loving relationship with God and people.

When looking at the living word, the Bible is a book of wisdom telling us the story of God’s love.

We find in Proverbs chapter 3 verse 13 that happy are those who find wisdom.
Many times happy in scripture can also be translated as blessed.

Happy and Blessed who not only seek facts about God and try to understand them, but those who attempt them out by loving God and loving people

How do we find this type of wisdom of living out God’s ways in the world.

There are many ways we find things…

When playing the game hide and go seek, if you are the seeker you try to imagine all the great places that you could find your friends. Once everyone is found, the game can start over for you to be the one who hides.

Some days we may seek wisdom like a game of hide and go seek,
where we go seeking God to find him nature, scripture, experiences or people.

We may find people who have gone through the same experience
or find people who are older who can give a deeper perspective

or find individuals from a different culture, or a younger generation who can help us see in a whole new way.

On other days we may seek to find wisdom as we look for our lost our lucky socks. We ask people to search with us. Sometimes we have to clean the whole house to find those lucky socks behind the washing machine. In the same manner we look for items that are lost, we may ask others to search with us for wisdom and we may have to clean out the entire insides of ourselves to find the hidden truth deep within.

Once you find wisdom, what do you do with it.

You have to sit with wisdom. Similar to when dying Easter eggs. Typically when the egg sits longer in the dye, the brighter and richer the color will be. While sitting with wisdom, you begin to realize the patience needed for understanding, this suffering that goes with the sitting while you wait.

Sometimes you have to wrestle with wisdom, allowing it to shape you into being a person that is honored to hold its truth.

Maybe the hardest thing to do with wisdom when we find it, is to live it.

Frances Gaynor, the first female elder here at Westminster elected to serve in 1964 and who died in January of this year shared many words of wisdom with this congregation that she lived out in her life with God.

A wise piece of advice she once said was this…
“I state my opinion in small groups, and when I am right, I don’t argue, I remain quiet.”

Here is how she lived this out in her life.

One time in a Sunday School Class the teacher asked this question to the class; “What are the sacraments in the Presbyterian church?” Frances said with boldness; “baptism and Lord’s supper.” A member of Westminster, who was a former catholic spoke up and disagreed with her. But she remained quiet. After church the man went home, looked up the information and then called her and apologized.

What a privilege to have those people like Frances to show us God’s ways and challenge us to be people where others come seeking to find wisdom in us to learn how to love God and people better.

The book of Proverbs shares that wisdom is an attribute of God defined with feminine qualities. Our human understanding of God is not limited by female or male images of God for scripture teaches us that our Lord is like a mother hen who gathers her chicks to her side and our God is like a loving father who welcomes the prodigal son home.

When we find wisdom or when wisdom finds us, and when we attempt to live it out we find true wealth as described in Proverbs chapter 3

Living in God’s ways is better than silver or gold,
it cannot be compared to rubies or other jewels
it is a long life defined by peace and pleasantness
And when we find it and live it in our life, we are blessed.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a few words of wisdom from mother’s connected to this congregation. They are on the insert in your bulletin as a matching game. So let’s see if you matched the favorite sayings to the correct members of Westminster.

Katrina Crawford was the one who wrote
My Mom would say “the house will get messy every day, but your kids are only young once – go play with your kids.”

Lori Davis was the one who wrote-
My favorite quote about motherhood is “The days are long, but the years are short.” I literally recite this to myself when I’m in the trenches of a super hard, long day of being mom.

Marsha Howard was the one who wrote
My mother used to always say, “Never leave your house with an unmade bed, dishes in the sink or safety pins in your underwear!” (I NEVER HAVE)

Andi Shifflett was the one who wrote
Mom really drilled into my brother and me that getting an education (for her that meant a college degree) was one of the most important things we could do. It was so important to her that we be self-sufficient and able to take care of ourselves. I think this was a huge priority for her because she was faced with raising two children virtually by herself and she did not have as many options as she would have liked because she did not have a four-year degree.

Sarah Toms was the one who wrote
Instead of her mother saying “Why don’t you be quiet,” Mary Toms would say “enough said.”

These are beautiful words of wisdom that we remember from our mothers and shape us into who we are today.

Those who teach us best and those we are willing to learn from the most,
are the ones who know everything about us;

they know our strengths and our weaknesses

our passions and our faults

our talents and our hurts

And even though they know our whole self, they still love us.

They love us in creative ways to improve upon talent, passion, and strength
while they are also found nurturing us when we are weak

caring for us when we fail

and tending to us when we are hurt.

God is the best example of the one who knows everything about us, yet loves us still and finds creative ways to help us find him and live out his ways in the world.

God can lead us to find wisdom in a person that we trust. Who will say the hard truth with great love, and do so in a way that we can hear, accept and be shaped by it.

God may lead us to find wisdom in music, movies, or books to tell his love story exactly the way we need to hear it.

God may lead us to find wisdom when we least expect it or it may be heard multiple times throughout lifetime.

Our job is to be ready to receive it and then use it for his good and for his glory.

Beautiful wisdom is found when space is filled with something more than words can say. Where the words, the experience, the person and our God combined are given to you as a gift and then you have the opportunity to unwrap that gift over a life time.

The last visit I shared with Reed’s grandmother, Luet Cranford, she spoke these beautiful words of wisdom, a gift that will take a lifetime for me to unwrap…

Today doesn’t last forever.
I wouldn’t take anything for my memories.
They grow if you sit with them long enough.

May the wisdom passed on to us by our mothers, grandmothers, and influential female role models in our life continue to sit with us and grow within us in the years to come as we are better people for knowing them and being loved by them. What a testament to these women, when we not only hear their words of wisdom that enhance our life with God and others, but try to live it out in our lives and pass it on to the next generation

May we be seekers of beautiful wisdom both human and especially divine.
May we come alongside people to help search for wisdom and to live it out in our life. &
May we spend time with those we love and our Heavenly Father and Mother who loves us because today doesn’t last forever here on earth yet with Christ life extends forevermore.

A favorite prayer of Mother Teresa’s by Cardinal John Henry Newman- I would like to invite all the ladies to read this prayer with me found on the screen or in your insert.

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being

so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul
I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.
Amen

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