Teaching Series
Wisdom That Works
Sunday—Wisdom Creates Community

Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: Wisdom Creates Community
Preacher:  Amy Markoch
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 3:13-35 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13–15).

After reading today’s message from Proverbs, I decided to put this portion of wisdom to a test. What would have happened if my mom and dad had started a trust fund for me the year I was born (1962), investing $500 in gold and $500 in silver? How much would that fund be worth 57 years later? 

That initial $1,000 would be $28,000 if I were to cash it all in today. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but assuming I put the same $1,000 into the stock market and didn’t add any other contributions, my gold and silver investment would have beat my 401K by about $2,000! So the Bible is true! Whew! I was hoping for a good result. 

In short, it’s not unusual for long-term investments to pay off. One way or another. 

My dad invested $37,787 in cigarettes over fifty years. His investment paid him with a horrible case of terminal COPD. I invested countless hours in the 1970s listening to my favorite bands. My investment paid off in my ability to lip-sync pretty much any song currently playing over the grocery store PA system. My wife and I invested just over $70,000 in private Adventist education for our son. Our investment dividends are still coming in, but to date, we’d count life long friends, Bible knowledge, and character development as a part of our returns. Investments pay returns.

So, what are you investing in? Are you investing in your health? It will pay off in the future. Are you investing in your marriage? Again, it will pay off if you do. Are you investing in your relationship with Jesus? The payoffs are immeasurable. 

My wife and I started investing in our retirement years and years ago. It’s something we’ve been intentional about. We expect that our investment will pay off, if not for us, for our son some day. 

Investments don’t happen accidentally. They are intentional decisions that will almost always pay off, for good or for bad.

Recalibrate: What are you investing in? What are you investing your time in? What are you investing your money in? What are the returns you are expecting?

Respond: Pray these words: “Lord, turn our eyes toward you. Bless us as we invest in you and your children.” 

Research: Read Time Investment: Invest Your Time Instead of Spending It

Remember: “My child, hold on to wisdom and reason. Don’t let them out of your sight” (Proverbs 3:21, ICB).

Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.

Play a game of Filling Up with your little one. Turn the faucet on and show your little one how to hold a cup underneath the water. Play with pulling the cup in and out of the flow. Try this with something else, possibly sand or rice. See if your little one can hold the cup underneath the flow. You can play this game in the shower or at bath time as well. Imagine that you are cup. Choose to stand under the never-ending shower of God's love for us. Fill up with His love and let that love overflow.

How can you tell if someone is really happy? What do they look like? Sound like? The Bible tells us that people who find wisdom and understanding are happy people. Why do you think that people who have those things are happy? Well, let’s see—what is the opposite of wisdom? Stupidity. What is the opposite of understanding? Confusion. Is it easy to be happy when you feel stupid and confused? Not really. Today when you see people who look like they’re really happy, let them know you see that! Give them a high five or a big smile!

Before we start diving into Proverbs this morning, I want you to imagine a slice of sandwich bread. Imagine for a moment that you are holding one slice of bread in your hand right now. Can you feel its weight? Not very heavy, right? Keep this in your mind as we study Solomon’s words today.

In Chapter 3, Solomon says that wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold, and jewels. In order to better understand this, I went and did a little research. As of today, the value of one ounce of silver is $17.61. The value of one ounce of gold is $1,491.46. The value of one ounce of diamond (150 carats) is $70 million!

If you’re anything like me and can’t readily think about how much one ounce weighs in order to accurately imagine how much silver, gold, and diamond we’re talking about, consider this: One ounce is equal to the weight of a slice of bread.

Solomon advises us to spend all our time searching for wisdom rather than $70 million in diamonds because, in the end, wisdom is more valuable.

How? Do you agree? If so, how do you think it’s possible to know that wisdom truly is more valuable?

When I was a kid, I loved playing with army figurines. I had no desire to be in the army or go to war, but playing with those figurines sent me into a whole other world and I would play with them for hours. One Christmas there was nothing I wanted more than a toy Jeep for my figurines to ride around in. I dreamt of the day when I would get the Jeep and all my army guys could fit in it. I thought of the missions we would go on. I thought of the dirt track I was going to make in my backyard for the Jeep. It was precious in my eyes. Nothing could compete with the joy I would have once I had that Jeep. Well, Christmas morning came and the Jeep of my dreams was under the tree! I was so excited! I spent the day putting it together, playing with it, and arranging my army figurines in it. Yet as I played with my Jeep something happened. As the days passed by the joy began to fade, and I realized the joy I thought I would have with my Jeep was not permanent. This experience taught me something important. There is nothing in life that will bring permanent joy other than Jesus. That is what the author of Proverbs 3 is talking about here. Silver, gold, and all other worldly things will fall short. But the wisdom that Jesus gives us will last forever.

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 the associate pastor of youth and family ministries at New Haven Adventist Church in Overland Park, Kansas.

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