Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: What a Life of Shalom Looks Like
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Proverbs 3:1-8 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
I used to lean on my own understanding. At least when it came to most things. I don’t like looking at directions when it comes to putting things together. I’d rather figure out how to do it myself. Of course, if I happen to get bamboozled by the IKEA furniture I’m trying to assemble, I’ll go to the directions for a quick consult, but most of the time, I figured intuition will guide me. This is the same for driving directions, along with cooking and car maintenance.
Once when I was in Boston, I was trying to find my way back to a freeway entrance to get me back to the camp meeting I was set to speak at that night. This was before everyone had a little GPS lady on their cell phone barking out directions. I had a young man with me who, after 20 minutes, wondered aloud if it wouldn’t be a good idea to ask for directions. I pulled over and had a long discussion about what a real man is and how to avoid having to hand in your man card. Twenty minutes later (every minute of it spent searching in the heart of Boston) I submitted. I stopped and asked a taxicab driver to lead me to the freeway entrance. It was about 500 feet along the street I was already on. I had passed it six times.
Point is, we need wisdom. We need it more than we can ever realize. In my driving escapade in Boston, I had actually stopped at a service station to ask for directions. I had received knowledge. But, in an attempt to follow the prescriptive knowledge the attendant had given me, I got lost again. I needed the wisdom to ask someone to lead me. The nice man in the taxicab became my guiding wisdom. And I was only 20 minutes late to my speaking appointment that night.
Leaning into wisdom may not give us all the answers, but it will surely direct us in a way that we can navigate this life more successfully than without it.
Recalibrate: Have you ever had to undo something you did because you didn’t follow directions? Is there a part of your current life you wish you could take apart and put back together?
Respond: Pray these words: “God, please give me the patience and insight to lean into You and Your wisdom. Help me to submit to Your ways and will in my life.”
Research: For the women out there, read Why Men Don’t Ask for Directions by Linda Sapadkin, Ph.D.
Remember: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3, ICB).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.
Play a game of Help Please with your child today. To play this game you should ask for help with whatever you are doing. Ask for help to unpack the dishwasher. Ask for help to read a book. Ask for help to prepare a snack. I know you can do these things on your own and probably a lot faster than with a small child in the mix, however it is in the doing it together that relationship is built. God does not need us to do stuff for Him but He longs to do stuff with us. That is how relationships are built. Just like our children listen and learn from us, we can listen and learn from Him. Lean into His wisdom and learn.
The Words to Remember this week say, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3, ICB). How in the world would you write on your heart?! Even if you knew an experienced doctor or surgeon, I don’t think they would recommend opening you up and writing on your heart! That would be crazy. I think what the Bible is trying to tell us is that by writing something on our hearts, we are keeping it super duper close to us. It’s something that is so important that it belongs right on our hearts. Make two necklaces. You can use paper or cardboard and string. Whatever you can find. Write “Love” on one and “Faithfulness” on the other. Wear them around a little bit today!
When I was younger we had this cat named Ziggy who got into a bad fight with another neighborhood cat who lived across the street. After the battle, Ziggy had a deep scratch on his nose that did not heal very well so we took him to the veterinarian to get stitched up. They recommended we give him medicine twice a day and keep a plastic cone on his neck until the scratch had healed. I’m sure you know the kind of cone I’m talking about; it’s white plastic and sticks out past the animal’s head by a few inches so that they can’t touch their head with their feet or any wall.
That poor cat wandered around the house bumping into things and meowing impatiently every time he wanted to clean himself only to find he couldn’t reach past the outside of the cone’s edge.
The thing about the cone is that once it’s lashed onto a cat’s neck, the cone decides what the cat can see or do, and it determines where the cat can and can’t go. The cone becomes part of the cat’s world for better or for worse.
In Proverbs 3:3, we read about how Solomon calls for us to put on a cone of our own. Only this one isn’t to keep us from licking our paws!
The Message Bible says it this way, “Do not lose your grip on love and loyalty. Tie them around your neck.”
What do you think would change in your life if you tied the ideas of love and loyalty around your neck like a cone? How would you see the world differently? How would doing so limit the way you move around the world? How would doing so change your life for the better?
I have recently discovered that my employer is making me leave my church to go to seminary to finish my education as a pastor. When I first heard the news, the bitterness of the situation made me start to fantasize about how easy my life would be if I wasn’t a pastor. The what-ifs began to pile up in my head! “If I was a this or a that and I could just live in one place forever!” As I have taken time to process what is happening in my life, I realize I began to have these thoughts and doubts because I am afraid of the future. I don’t know what my life will look like in three months and I truly don’t know what it will look like in three years when I’m finished. It seems like all I have right now is uncertainty. But that is a lie. I have something more than uncertainty; I have faith. I know that God has put me on this earth for a reason and He will not forsake me. I like how Proverbs 3:3 say to not let faithfulness forsake us. The truth is, faith is faithful! Our faith is a sure thing as long as we remember to have it. I want to encourage you today not to forsake faithfulness. Be faithful to God, remember Him in your coming and your going, your waking and your sleeping. He is faithful. He is a sure thing.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Kyle Smith is associate pastor of youth and family ministries at New Haven Adventist Church in Overland Park, Kansas.