Whether you just completed elementary school, junior high, high school or college, your graduation indicates that you successfully completed a specified segment of accumulating knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
God clearly approves of the pursuit of wisdom: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom” (Proverbs 3:13). “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not” (Proverbs 4:5). “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7). “For wisdom is better than rubies” (Proverbs 8:11). “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!” (Proverbs 16:16). Is there any doubt that God wants you to gain wisdom?
Here is a challenge for every graduate. Determine to keep finding wisdom, even outside the structure of school and your studies. In Proverbs 18:1, God gives a simple, yet effective, plan for any person to gain wisdom. “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” There are three steps here that can be used at any stage of life by any person who sees the value in finding wisdom.
n Desire: The whole process begins “through desire.” You will not just stumble into wisdom. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes desire as “a passion excited by the love of an object.” You must decide that you will be passionately excited about finding wisdom. If you are not, there will be many obstacles that will stop you. Any man or woman who will first develop a passionate desire for wisdom will be well under way.
n Disentangle: The next step is to “separate himself.” If you desire something strongly enough, you will be willing to separate yourself from obstacles that would hinder you in your pursuit. Olympic athletes will forgo certain foods in order to be in peak condition. World-class musicians will forfeit hours of pleasure in order to spend those hours honing their skill on their instruments. Likewise, those who are seriously passionate about finding wisdom will need to disentangle themselves from certain other pursuits.
n Dig: The final step is to “seek and intermeddle with all wisdom.” Once you have developed a desire for wisdom and removed hindrances, you must find and embrace wisdom any time or place you can. The dictionary definition for seek is “to endeavor to find or gain by any means.” Throughout the Bible book of Proverbs, you will find the strong theme that wisdom is available, but you must make an effort to obtain it. Ask questions. Dig for answers. Refuse to be turned away. Apply yourself. Be diligent. Don’t quit until you have found wisdom.
Graduates, desire wisdom so much that you are willing to disentangle from unnecessary pursuits and dig for wisdom any place that you can find it. God says you will be “happy!”
• The Rev. Timothy Benefield is minister of Golden Valley Baptist Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.