Wisdom, Montana—Population 132—Elevation 6,000+feet.
Last week, we were in Wisdom with some friends who live several miles away. I wondered, while there, how the town got its name. When I got home, I found out that Lewis and Clark got to this part of the “Great Unknown” (basically anything west of the Mississippi) and found three rivers that they named for then President Thomas Jefferson: Philanthropy, Philosophy, Wisdom. These were supposedly virtues that the president possessed. The town of Wisdom kept the name for its thriving metropolis.
In a book I love, written by Brad Herzog, States of Mind: A Search for Virtue in America, the author and his wife traveled around the country to towns named for virtues like Harmony, Pride, and Hope to see if they lived up to their names, and he wrote about the town of Wisdom.
He talked to several of the citizens who said they thought that the wisdom of the town seemed to be linked to several things: listening to others, hard work, respect for their elders, and perseverance. Words of wisdom indeed.
King Solomon asked God for wisdom when he was crowned king of Israel. God granted it. And with Solomon’s great wisdom, he amassed immense wealth. In fact, he was famous all over the known world for his good judgement and perception. He actually had more money (in today’s dollars) than Warren Buffet and Bill Gates combined.
There’s a difference between wisdom and knowledge, at least in a biblical sense. Solomon had been given wisdom that came from the Father. He had knowledge also, but this had been acquired by his own efforts and indulgences. (He had 700 wives and 300 concubines after all.)
And in his exploration, he turned to other gods, those worshipped by his many foreign women and before the end of his life Solomon warned his readers–Do not invest in things that are “meaningless” and “are chasing after the wind.”
He wrote in the Proverbs (chapter 3, verses 5-7) something that he did not heed in his own lifetime:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
His final words are these (from the paraphrase The Message):
“Fear God. Do what he tells you. And that’s it.”
Here’s a verse I’ve loved and claimed all of my life, especially when I’ve had decisions to make
“…if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ” (James 1:5)