May is a time when many are graduating from high school and college. After years of hard work, study, and perseverance, the time for the receiving of diplomas and celebrating with family and friends has come. Unfortunately this year, many will be disappointed as traditional graduation ceremonies are substituted with either a virtual ceremony or a ceremony that is extremely limited in terms of participation. Still, this is an important time in the lives of those who are graduating. It is a time to receive recognition for all that they have learned and accomplished. It is a time to look forward to further eduction, job opportunities, or new areas of service. It is also a time to remember that the true quest of education is not the acquisition of knowledge, but rather the acquiring of wisdom...
The book of Proverbs begins by proclaiming the virtue of wisdom and continues by exhorting us to seek for wisdom above all things: "Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her," (Pv. 3:13-15). "The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you, embrace her, and she will honor you," (Pv. 4:7-8).
All of us have known people who are well educated and accomplished; but they don't seem to be very wise. they make bad choices, allow themselves to get involved in behaviors which are destructive, and their relationships are a source of constant chaos and conflict. On the other hand, perhaps you, like me, know people who do not have degrees and titles, but the course and manner of their life reveals the depth of their wisdom. My grandmother was a person like that: She had only an 8th grade education, she never had a high paying job or a position of great authority. But she was admired and well thought of by everyone who knew her. My uncle (her son) once said to me, "When it came to raising kids, grandma put all of these modern psychologists to shame." As a child I spent many hours at her home and I would have to agree; she had a way of dealing with situations and people that brought blessing and encouragement to everyone involved. As I think about her I would say that she was one who had a "fear of the Lord" and an incredible love of people. In short, her priorities were in order.
I pray God's blessing on all who are graduating this May. What a challenging time to begin writing a new chapter of one's life. But graduates; no matter what the next life step is for you, I encourage you to seek wisdom. "Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed." (Pv. 5:16-18).
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.