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Consider This: Picking Up the Pebbles

The noise around us all too often drowns out the voice. Will we hear and heed?

A few years ago I heard this modern parable: A man walking in the desert heard a voice say to him, “Pick up some pebbles, put them in your pocket, and tomorrow you will be both sorry and glad.”

The man obeyed. He stooped down, gathered a handful of pebbles, and put them in his pocket. The next morning he reached into his pocket and found, instead of pebbles, diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Immediately he was both sorrowful and glad—glad that he had taken some, sorry he hadn’t taken more.

In this little fictional story are some parallels to something very real. As we walk through the desert of life, a real voice is calling out, telling us to pick up something that is right in front of us—something that we can never get enough of, but whatever amount we pick up will benefit us greatly.

The voice

The voice says, “She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.”

The voice says, “She will preserve you. … She will promote you; she will bring you honor when you embrace her.”

Who is “she”? Wisdom. These words come straight out of the Bible’s book of Proverbs, which, if it were published today, would probably be titled something like, The Smartest Things Ever Said. But who listens to it today?

Please consider this short quiz about wisdom:

  • Who is the wisest person you know?
  • What is the wisest advice anyone ever gave you?
  • Complete this sentence: I would be much wiser if I …

It requires considerable thought, doesn’t it? But how often do we think about the quality of wisdom? When is the last time you heard someone talk about wisdom today? Who tries to figure out who around them is wise? Who seeks to collect advice that comes their way so they can add depth and good sense to their lives? How often do we process the events of our own life, learning to become a wiser person? How many go to the source of wisdom God preserved for us—His Word—on a quest for wisdom to live by?

How wise?

Here’s another question: Observing the world today—how wise are its leaders and its citizens? Not how smart—intelligence is not the same thing as wisdom—but how wise are we?

Our history is a story of a people of brilliant intelligence who could never seem to learn life’s lessons, insisting on repeating time and again one of the most foolish mistakes humans have made. It’s the same mistake God said of ancient Babylon: “You have trusted in your wickedness. … Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you. … Therefore evil shall come upon you; you shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; you will not be able to put it off” (Isaiah 47:10-11).

We are living in a rapidly changing world, which, in its human “wisdom,” is destroying God’s values and turning society into a spiritual wasteland. Then we wring our hands and ask, “Why is the world in chaos?” Our lead article in this issue addresses that, showing what God warned us about millennia ago.

Yes, priceless jewels of God’s knowledge and understanding are there, right in front of us, in abundance. As always, our desire is to share with you, our readers, the gems of truth and wisdom that we have been blessed to collect from the Bible.

Will you heed the voice of wisdom—God’s voice—and fill your pockets?

Clyde Kilough


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Discern Article Series

Christ Versus Christianity
Walk as He Walked
Christianity in Progress
Wonders of God's Creation