Many give their all to the pursuit of wealth, not realizing that there is something even more valuable: godly wisdom!
Tremendous effort and hundreds of lives have been spent in pursuit of El Dorado.
The legendary city of gold has never been found, but it has cost many people dearly. One of those was Sir Walter Raleigh, the famous writer, poet and explorer.
After thorough research of the El Dorado myth, Raleigh became convinced that the city was in the area of Guiana on the continent of South America. He explored the area and found some treasure, but no great city of gold. Years later, he mounted a second voyage that resulted in a battle between his explorers and Spanish troops that killed his son Walter. Upon his return home, the famed explorer was imprisoned and executed for antagonizing the Spanish against the British king’s orders.
El Dorado, for all its elusiveness, exacted a high price.
Greater than gold
Long before Sir Walter Raleigh’s unfortunate end, something was revealed that was even greater than the treasure the British adventurer had hoped to find.
“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15).
King Solomon, an ancient Israelite king who abounded with both wisdom and gold, said, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver” (Proverbs 16:16).
Wealth can be a fabulous blessing, but a far greater blessing is wisdom. Instead of putting our all into the search for wealth, as Sir Walter Raleigh and many others have done, we should seek after godly wisdom. (For more on what godly wisdom is, read “The Importance of Wisdom and How to Become Wiser”).
It is no exaggeration to state that wisdom is worth more than all the wealth of the world. Wisdom has many priceless benefits that make life happier, easier and more rewarding than any amount of money could.
Of benefit to others
When we possess wisdom, others benefit from it. King Solomon said, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).
The people we associate with will have an effect on us. If we are teachable, being with the wise will increase our wisdom and help us to grow. On the flip side, being with the foolish can bring us down and ultimately lead to our destruction.
We have to make sure that we are the wise ones who help others to grow. If not, we will suffer the fate of the foolish and be destroyed.
In her famous encounter with Solomon, the queen of Sheba expressed amazement at this king’s wisdom (1 Kings 10). Despite seeing a palace covered with objects made out of pure gold, it was his wisdom that most astounded her. After seeing the depth of his wisdom, she exclaimed, “Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!” (verse 8).
Possessing wisdom is a blessing not only to ourselves, but to those around us.
Making a leader
There are many traits that go into building a leader. But one trait that the Bible consistently expresses must be present in leaders is wisdom.
- Because of his wisdom, Joseph was selected to be the second-in-command of Egypt, despite the fact that he was a foreign prisoner and former slave (Genesis 41:33, 38-40).
- Wisdom was a key requirement for the congregational leaders in ancient Israel (Deuteronomy 1:13-15).
- Solomon felt that wisdom was so important in being an effective ruler that it was what he asked for when God gave him a blank check, so to speak (1 Kings 3:7-10).
- The first deacons were selected in part due to their wisdom (Acts 6:3).
Leadership is serious business, and it requires wisdom to properly handle the responsibility.
Wisdom helps us to develop the people skills we need to get through life easier. Without it, working with others can seem like a never-ending series of conflicts. If we possess wisdom, we can avoid a lot of the problems.
Some of the people skills that we develop through wisdom are:
- Getting along with people (Proverbs 11:12).
- Pacifying others’ anger (Proverbs 16:14; 29:8).
- Knowing when to stop speaking (Proverbs 29:11).
- Persuading others to help us (Daniel 2:14).
See the end
Knowing in advance the end result of decisions is an ability that many desire.
A truly wise person will consider cause and effect and apply that knowledge, avoiding the actions that result in evil and choosing the actions that result in good.One secret to possessing such an ability is wisdom. It’s not magic or a superpower, but an understanding of the principle of cause and effect. A truly wise person will consider cause and effect and apply that knowledge, avoiding the actions that result in evil and choosing the actions that result in good (Proverbs 14:16).
Wisdom allows us to see where we are in our present circumstances, how we got there, and what it will take to get out of problems or move to the next level. The lack of this wisdom was one of the great downfalls of ancient Israel, as well as countless other nations in history and quite possibly even a few nations today (Deuteronomy 32:28-29).
Honor of wisdom
In the short run, wisdom may not seem to have the same value as the riches of El Dorado. But when we consider the help that we can give to others, the leadership skills that we can develop, the ability we can gain to work with people, and the insight into the future that wisdom can give us, then it is possible to see the true value of wisdom.
For many, the elusive riches of El Dorado are nothing more than a historical curiosity. Wisdom, on the other hand, carries a timeless honor that will lead to so much more.
Some of the glory will come to us now. “A man will be commended according to his wisdom, but he who is of a perverse heart will be despised” (Proverbs 12:8). Often, we will be recognized by our family, coworkers and friends for our wisdom as we live our daily lives.
In the long run, after we have acquired a reputation for wisdom, the glory will be greater still. “The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools” (Proverbs 3:35).
Ultimately, the fate of those who have godly wisdom is to share in the glory of God Himself. “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Godly wisdom will ultimately bring with it an eternal and unparalleled glory that the human mind cannot comprehend.
Considering wisdom’s many priceless benefits, Solomon’s powerful exhortation continues to reverberate today:
“Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you” (Proverbs 4:5-9).