This month I stepped outside of my usual morning reading of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes into the book of Job. Just to shake things up, though admittedly it falls into the same wisdom literature category as the previous two books. I have been reading all of these books to understand the concept of wisdom, and the meaning of life from a Biblical perspective (Ecclesiastes being the strongest book in the Bible about meaning for life).
“But if a man lives many years and rejoices in them all, yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. All that is coming is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 11:8
Sober words right? No I am not trying to be a downer, but one of the points of wisdom is a clear look at reality. There is no glitter and unicorns here, but there is appreciation and wonder for what is before us everyday. That was part of the reason for jumping into Job, a book about a man suffering and being counseled by three friends who all accuse him of being guilty of doing something wrong.
On this back drop I picked up “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, a classic daily devotional book I had not read in more than 5 years. For January 21 it posed all sorts of questions about whether I was loving God and showing the same passion for Him as I was when younger in my faith. Fair enough, age is often a jading process more than a shining one, but one phrase stood out bold as I read through it-
“Am I there now, or have I become wise over loving Him?”
This rang out to me because of another statement in Ecclesiastes about not becoming too wise or it can lead to destroying your life (Eccl. 7:16), just as too much folly can kill you young. What has this got to do with Job?
Job and his friends were often speaking under the guise of being wise, but there was one element missing-LOVE. I think that is the part that gets lost in all of this, the loving part. There is an intellectual divide between the Old and New Testaments with regard to love and wisdom makes this stand out for me. Jesus is to be our wisdom, so the New Testament states, and in that embodiment there is love incorporated.
I guess in my attraction to the concept of wisdom I have often forgotten that it is meaningless without love. Sure it is practical to be wise as wisdom gives us a better use of knowledge. However my own life grows stale if I only focus on it and my perception of caring and loving of others, and by extension my activity in my church, begins to recede instead of increasing.
Love is partly what Jobs friends were missing in judging their friend. They didn’t help, they only caused Job more pain which was Satan’s plan all the while I could imagine.
So Love, got to get more of you in my head!
Keep reading and writing, it’s good for your soul.