Wise or Smart?

Day 16

Genesis 32:13‐34:31; Matthew 11:7‐30; Psalm 14:1‐7; Proverbs 3:19‐20

Wise or Smart?

We have two dogs in my household. “Natty” is clearly the smarter of the two. She understands commands quickly and even untangles her own rope when she gets wrapped around the grill. Yet, “Charlie” is the one we think of as the “better” dog. Charlie has learned to behave in the ways the please us, his owners, and is simply never a problem. Natty, on the other hand, can be a pain in the derriere. Alas, smart does not always equal good, or wise.

Wisdom and foolishness are contrasted in today’s Psalm in similar ways. It is not about being “smart,” as in clever or “not dumb.” Rather, wisdom is to be found in seeking after God and foolishness in denying God. By that standard, many smart, clever people would be considered foolish and many who are not clever by human standards would be considered wise.

In the lesson from Matthew, Jesus reminds us that “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19b). The idea is similar to what He taught earlier in Matthew, “You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16)

When we put these together, I think we can see that the Biblical understanding of wisdom is tied to seeking after God and then acting in accordance with the One sought. It is the one who lives by faith, not by sight (human smarts) who is truly wise!

The Rev. Eric Turner
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Melbourne, FL

Want to Go Deeper?

Did you know? The Bible Challenge Website has a “Going Deeper” section. Each week, you can review teachings on the readings for the week. There is a 30-40 minute Old Testament Study teaching on the weekly readings. There is also a much more in-depth study that just focuses on the New Testament readings. These lectures were recorded live from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lake Mary, FL as we went through the Bible Challenge in 2013.

I hope you will be blessed as you go deeper in the study of God’s word.

The Rev. Charlie Holt+
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

Follow Jesus…That’s Easy Right?

Day 15

Genesis 31:17-32:12; Matthew 10:26-11:6; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 3:16-18

Follow Jesus…That’s Easy Right?

Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven. ~ Matthew 10:32

Jesus teaches the disciples, “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher” (24a), suggesting that being a follower of Jesus sounds quite easy—follow Jesus by speaking and acting like the Master. In reality, this is no easy task. Many of the things Jesus mentions here are difficult to understand. He teaches that losing one’s life is to find it, and that He does not come to bring peace, but a sword, and “whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Our call is challenging to fulfill. Yet, in spite of our weakness, God is pleased to empower us to bear His love, light, and holiness to the world in our words, character, and deeds.

We recently celebrated the story of three international kings who were led by a star to visit the baby Jesus. By faith we see the presence of God face to face in the revelation, manifestation, or striking appearance of God the Son born for us as a human being in Jesus Christ the Light of the world. Isaiah foretold, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2).

To us Jesus challenges, “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Matthew 10:23). Jesus’ instructions are clear. We, the people of God, are to shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, so that Jesus may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth.

The Rev. James Brzezinski
St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church
Pewaukee WI