My child, you must follow
and treasure my teachings
and my instructions.
Keep in tune with wisdom
and think what it means
to have common sense.
Beg as loud as you can
for good common sense.
Search for wisdom
as you would search for silver
or hidden treasure.
Then you will understand
what it means to respect
and to know the Lord God. (Contemporary English Version)
Sometimes it seems as if common-sense has taken a vacation or gone into quarantine.
We may even be in some sort of common-sense crisis or pandemic.
Perhaps we are emoting when we should be thinking. Maybe we’re thinking when we ought to be feeling. It could be we’re doing both or neither. Whatever the heck is going on, it’s a bunch of gobbledygook that isn’t getting us anywhere.
Much to my sadness, many Christians brazenly splash their ignorance across large swaths of social media. It’s not surprising that more and more people want nothing to do with the Church nor Christianity.
Common sense does not necessarily imply any great quality of mind or intelligence; it’s common, not extraordinary.
We need some sound practical discernment for common everyday matters.
What shall we do?
I propose we liberally inhale the biblical proverbs – because suspicion, gullibility, extreme vitriol, and downright stupidity now characterize vast sections of our world, especially in the so-called intellectual West. In the wise sayings of the Proverbs, we shall find that:
Humility and reverence are the beginning of wisdom.
A teachable spirit is of more value than any amount of money or physical resources.
Developing the life of the mind is of critical importance.
Every good thing in life comes through blood, sweat, and tears – and doesn’t just fall into your lap.
Ultimate control belongs to God.
There is peace in being comfortable with mystery.
Knowing God helps us pursue the right questions, rather than always trying to have the right answers.
Becoming more self-aware creates greater awareness of God and others.
Smart choices come from both mental learning and practical action.
The mind can be clouded and untrustworthy, and the heart can be desperately wicked; the gut, however, is always right.
Mentally overthinking and researching things to death can disconnect us from a good old fashioned sage response.
Our own personal view is just that; it isn’t necessarily the best or right perspective.
Feedback, advice, consultation, and collaboration are necessary, not optional.
Perfection isn’t the goal.
Proverbs aren’t ironclad promises; they’re short pithy statements of experiential truth.
Observation and listening are valued by God as the primary means of gaining understanding.
Most things in life are both/and, not either/or.
We all have two ears and one mouth. There needs to be twice as much listening as talking.
We must go hard after wisdom.
Having experience makes all the difference.
Action and reflection go hand-in-hand.
It’s okay to be afraid. It’s not okay to let fear stop us from action.
Simplicity and complexity are not necessarily antithetical.
Complete control is the glory of God. Self-control is the glory of humans.
If we are going to raise our voices about something, then let us shout loudly in prayer for some basic wisdom and common sense from God. Any common fool can be won over by a podcast rant or get sucked into some blogger who vehemently damns everyone opposing his views.
The wise believer, however, will humbly cry out to God for the wisdom to live well and make good decisions with both mind and mouth.
May it be so to the glory of God.
All-wise and everlasting God:
You know the number our of hairs and determine our days.
You hang the stars and feed the sparrows.
You open doors no one can shut and shut doors no one can open.
Surely, we can trust you when the time comes for making big decisions, or for that matter, any decision. We need your sagacity and discernment for all things. We will trust you for generous wisdom, straight paths, and peaceful hearts.
We plan, seeking you to order our steps.
We pray, asking you to bend our prayers toward your benevolent purposes.
We seek counsel, counting on you to direct our words and actions more than trying to please someone else.
We search the Scriptures, looking to know Christ better.
It’s not our decisions, but yours that make all the difference.
Free us from the paralysis of analysis. We confess we are often more concerned with the perfect decision that impresses everybody, rather than being a righteous person.
Free us from idolatry. We confess we are often more concerned for our reputation than saying and doing what is right, just, and fair.
Free us from living in fear of disapproval. We confess we are often people-pleasers, rather than God-pleasers.
Free us from cheap and easy solutions to complex problems. We confess we often want speedy outcomes to our difficulties, rather than seeking to learn everything we can from the circumstances you give us.
Free us from continually second guessing ourselves and not trusting our gut. We confess that we often ignore the still small voice of wisdom within.
No matter the situation or the relationship, we affirm that your will and way for us is supreme.
Give us the desire and means of acquiring your will for all things.
Make us more and more like Jesus, even as we trust you for the opening and closing of doors that are in front of us.
May we live to your glory – Father, Son, and Spirit – the Holy Trinity we serve. Amen.