I have a really good friend named Scot McKnight. We’ve actually never met or had any form of interaction but I consider him to be a dear comrade of mine. Scot writes books that speak my language. His ideas are usually not revolutionary to me but they are always affirming. He writes what I’m thinking or feeling in a way that makes me feel that I’m not alone.
In a recent book of his, he writes about the value of wisdom. In our culture, no one doubts that wisdom is a good thing but I’m not sure that we live in a way that invites wisdom into our lives.
Scot says that, “It’s easier to ask for wisdom than to live it,” and I think he’s dead on. More often than not, I make my daily decisions based on my comfort level, what’s normal for me, and how little it effects my selfishness. These decisions are definitely not based on wisdom.
Living wisely means that we must ask some significant questions about the regular, everyday things that we do.
It means being intentional with our resources. It means sacrificing our comfort. It means that sometimes we do the things that we don’t want to do and we don’t do the things that we want to do.
This, by no means, is easy.
“We need to slow down in life and let wisdom have its way with us. If we want our big dreams to become sustainable, and if we want to end our lives well, we need to listen to the wise,” writes Scot.
Calling into question our minor, everyday decisions is an appropriate place to start. Scot tells the story about his love of pastrami sandwiches and his battle with enjoying more than he needs. As he drives past his favorite sandwich shop, he has to ask himself, “Is getting a pastrami sandwich a wise decision right now?” I have to imagine, merely asking this question dramatically cuts down on the amount of pastrami that he eats and that is probably for the best.
Andy Stanley expresses that “there is a cumulative value to investing small amounts of time in certain activities over a long period,” something like a synergistic effect. I think if we consistently call into question our desire for a pastrami sandwich, eventually something more is gained than a lower cholesterol. I think wisdom is gained.
Back in the 90’s, I sported a WWJD bracelet. Living according to the teachings of Jesus is the best way, that is not in question. I don’t know what Jesus would do about a pastrami sandwich though. In addition to the principles of Jesus’ teachings, maybe we need to ask WWWD, what would wisdom do? I think wisdom might have something to say about pastrami.