Teaching Series
Wisdom That Works
Tuesday—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 Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion” (Proverbs 3:21).

Discretion is the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.

Six retired Floridians were playing poker in the condo clubhouse when Jones loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table. Showing respect for their fallen comrade, the other five continue playing standing up. Smith looks around and asks, “So, who’s gonna tell his wife?” They cut cards. Peterson picks the two of clubs and has to carry the news. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don’t make a bad situation any worse. “Discreet? I’m the most discreet person you’ll ever meet. Discretion is my middle name. Leave it to me.” Peterson goes over to the Jones apartment and knocks on the door. The wife answers thru the door and asks what he wants? Peterson declares: “Your husband just lost $500 in a Poker game and is afraid to come home.” “Tell him to drop dead!” yells the wife. “I’ll go tell him,” says Peterson.

You’ve likely heard the phrase “discretion is the better part of valor.” The phrase was actually first written (to my knowledge) in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One as, “The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life,” spoken by Falstaff.

Discretion is so needed in our world today. The keeping of a secret, the ability to keep from blabbing private or inappropriate information, and the honoring of dignity appear to be slipping from the American conscience. 

TMZ is a whole network dedicated to the destruction of discretion. Politicians, movie stars, and other public figures air their dirty laundry like it’s a parade on Main Street. This has become the model for a society that seemingly has no shame, no hesitance to show its ugly side to a desensitized world. 

I was once driving down the street with my 93-year-old grandmother. She made a sound that sounded like a “Hmph.” I asked, “Whatsa matter, grandma?”

She responded, “This world has no shame. In my day we would have never seen what we are seeing now. We were much more discreet.”

I asked her to explain. As we drove along she pointed out all the billboards with half naked women on them advertising alcohol. At Walmart she pointed out how people were dressed and what was on the magazine rack. She talked about the content of all the TV shows that were currently popular. Looking at the world through my grandmother’s eyes gave me a new appreciation for discretion. 

There’s wisdom in discretion. 

Recalibrate: Why do you think discretion is linked to wisdom? What are some things that you wish people would be more discreet about? 

Respond: Pray these words: “Lord, help me to discern between what I should share in public and what I should keep discreet. Forgive me when I’ve breached another’s secret for personal gain.” 

Research: Read What is Professional Discretion? by Sam Ashe-Edmunds. 

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 Jump to Me with your child. Find a safe place where your child can climb up and jump to you (and you will catch them!). Count one, two, three and then—jump! Be sure to get the pattern of one, two, three,  jump, and then catch. This game requires focus for both the catcher and the jumper. Being ready to jump and being ready to catch are all about timing. To do both successfully you need to be watching and listening and acting upon what you see and hear. This is what wisdom is, watching and listening and waiting so that together we can be successful. Let’s get good at watching, listening, and working together.

All throughout the book of Proverbs, the person telling us these stories and pieces of truth refers to Wisdom as a person to help us understand that wisdom is more than just a thing like a book. We’re told that Wisdom has something in both her hands for us. Have you ever played the game where you have something like a piece of candy in one hand and you switch it around behind your back and ask something to pick a hand? If they choose the hand with the candy they get to keep it! Play this game with someone in your family. The good news is that Wisdom has something in both her hands and we get to keep it all. In her right hand, she offers you a long life, and in her left hand she gives you riches and honor. Those are pretty great things, huh?

If you have been reading the Daily Walk entries for the past two days, I need to adequately prepare you to be a little bit annoyed with today’s topic as Solomon flips the script on everything we have been discussing. On Sunday and Monday we talked about how the value of wisdom compares to different things and that wisdom is always more valuable. But in Verse 16, Solomon does something surprising when describing Wisdom and her attributes (you may recall from Chapter 2 that Solomon makes Wisdom into a woman). 

Solomon says that Wisdom has, “long life in her right hand; and in her left hand are riches and honor.”

If this much is true, then Solomon has been holding out on some pretty crucial details about Wisdom and why finding her makes her so valuable. Remember our list from the past two days (a $70 million diamond, a new camera, and a few bracelets made of silver and gold)? Turns out Wisdom has them in her right hand the whole time! Not only that, she’s got long life and honor in her grasp as well!

And she’s looking to give you a high five so you can have them too!

Now how do you feel about asking for wisdom this Christmas?

Not such a bad thing to have on your wish list after all!

For those of you who drive, have you ever been asked to follow someone? There's nothing worse than when you’re trying to follow someone in traffic and a bunch of cars get in front of you. Your line of sight to your leader gets crowded and you quickly begin to lose sight of the direction you need to take. Wisdom is a lot like this. Not because God's wisdom is fleeing from us, but because there are many things in life that are fighting for our attention. What are the things competing for your attention? A girl, a boy, your phone, your sports teams or the debate club? Regardless of what it is, I am sure there are things in your life that are always crowding your vision. In order for us to have wisdom, we must take time to not lose sight of it. Each one of us has to sit down every day and arrange our lives with the specific purpose of attaining wisdom. How do we do this? For me, it comes through spending time with Jesus. He knows the purpose and plan for my life. He sees the end from the beginning. I receive wisdom for the journey ahead when I take time to ask Him what I should do and where I should go. Surrender your life to Jesus, make time to seek Him for wisdom, and never let anything else become more important.

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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