I formerly led a congregation in Cody, Wyoming. One of the ministries I was tasked with upon arriving in Cody was to form a high school group. This particular congregation had never had a high school group. Offering a meal and conversation I was able to get ten females to show up. After an engaging brainstorming session, we had made some goals; 1) to go on a mission and 2) to be faithful in mission by first engaging in weekly bible study. This is how the group, “The Sophia’s” came to be. They named themselves “The Sophia’s” after, learning in bible study, that “Sophia” means wisdom, and in the original language is also a feminine word. They really grabbed onto the idea that, they, has high school girls, were both feminine and we were gaining wisdom through the study of scripture; they liked the idea, at their age of being “wise.”
Who doesn’t want to be wise? One definition of being wise is: “Having the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; sagacious.” Being wise, by this definition is helpful in the world we live. However, today I would like to discuss being wise as a follower of Jesus, in contrast to being wise according to the world. A key difference is that being wise according to being a follower of Jesus means our discernment is not done according to the world and what the world tells us, but according to the will of God.
The only way to be wise according to the will of God is to hear, and digest the Word of God.
When we hear God’s Word we come to know, and are offended to what is not right in the world. Knowing the right way of life is allowing God to come into us through our ears. The sinful world would have us be ambivalent to what is not right in the world. This world would have us not care when we encounter the brokenness of the world. It would have us not “look,” or would keep us from seeing, caring or being offended at what is not right.
The sinful world would have us be unaffected to people being murdered in the streets; executed in Afghanistan; unsheltered, hungry and tired in Haiti and places devastated by hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
The sinful world would have us believe these tragedies are “not my problem; no need to act.” The world would even give us ideas that if there were a way to profit from these tragedies there would be no problem.
However, as Ephesians 5 tells us: “Be careful how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Be wise.
Therefore, with the Word of God within us we do become offended and care when there is violence; acts of war, hunger, widows, orphans, and the sick. We not only become offended and filled with empathy we act.
Armed with God’s Word we are given the courage to care. When we care we are willing, then, to speak out when there are injustices. We are willing to be generous with our resources to make a difference for those who suffer. We take the time to offer an empathetic ear to those we know and love, as well as the stranger, who experience pain and sorrow. It might go against how the world would have you be; but being wise is the only way to experience eternal life.
The Sophia’s of Cody gained wisdom through their weekly study of God’s Word; they became wise and their eyes were open when they experienced the suffering world on mission and eternal life was experienced.
To hear more about eternal life look for this column next month: “When time stops; Eternal Life.”