Wise Up!

Sunday October 10, 2021 The 28th Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle B)

The tie in between today’s readings:  God’s Wisdom is priceless

Wisdom 7:7-11Psalm 90:12-17,Hebrews 4:12-13Mark 10:17-30

 Knowledge is the stuff that you keep in the attic of your brain. In and of itself it will win you an Amazon gift card after round three on Quizzo night, but not much else. You need to know how to use all this “head stuff” that you have. You need wisdom. There are two kinds of wisdom. One is earthly wisdom, which comes from historical, social, and personal experiences. From these you knit a world view together in order to keep yourself on the road to happily ever after. The failing of this “best guess” approach to life: “If I only knew then what I know now.”  What we need is to get a helicopter view of what lies ahead of us. To find out where the twists and turns are. Climb the ladders and avoid the chutes. While experience is good, what we lack is the beginning to end perspective that can only come from God’s wisdom. In today’s reading in the book of Wisdom, God comes to Solomon like the genie in the lamp and offers him one wish.  Solomon says, “Your wisdom is more precious than anything I could ask for.” God is pleased. He grants Solomon wisdom for his “head stuff” and, as a consequence, he gains riches and honor.

Now, being wise in your life decisions and acquiring riches as you pick up a headline or two is great for this world, but that’s not the whole story. Psalm 90 acknowledges our difficult and brief lifespan. What is life’s purpose? Even God given blessings have to be tempered with an eye toward the grave. How should we look at death and the hereafter? Again, we need to seek God for this question because our perspective is limited. In Mark 10, we see a rich young ruler, perhaps struggling with these questions himself, coming to Jesus and seeking wisdom for the next life.

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” he asks.

“Obey the commandments.” Jesus replies.

“No worries, Jesus, I’ve been a good person all my life,” he asserts.

Jesus tests his statement by challenging him with the first commandment: no other gods before Me.  “Go sell everything, give it to the poor, and follow me. Your treasure will be in heaven.”

“Oh no, sorry, Jesus, I can’t do that. You see I’ve got a lot of stuff. Couldn’t I just…”

“Treasure in heaven!”

The man grieves as he walks away. The rich young ruler not only loses his opportunity to be the 13th apostle, but foolishly fails to see, that in the end, he has to give it all away anyhow. You can’t take it with you, after all. “How hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” Jesus remarks.  Everyone stands around drop jaw astonished.

“Who, then, can be saved?” they ask.

“It’s only possible with God,” Jesus answers.

Our reading in Hebrews, it tells us that God knows you inside and out. He is wise to you. He loves you anyway. God encourages you to respect what He says. He gives instructions in the Bible. In these instructions God also holds a mirror to your soul, shows you your sin, and gives you the solution. What must you do to be saved? With man it’s impossible. God in His wisdom has provided a savior for you: Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). Settle the question. Embrace Jesus as your Savior. You will have the peace and blessing of God on earth and in heaven.  As for life’s purpose, let me give you a hint from Proverbs 11:30: “He that wins souls is wise.”

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