One of my favourite movies is Forrest Gump. I think what makes the movie so memorable for me are some of the lines that come from the mouth of Forrest. They represent Forrest’s own view of the world and a certain, home-spun philosophy of life:
“Life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what ya’ gonna get!”
“You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear…where they’ve been and what they’ve done…”
“I may not be a smart man but I know what love is”
One of my favourites is Forrest’s reply when asked “are you stupid of something’?” Forrest reply is as disarming as it is profound:
“Stupid is as stupid does”.
In other words, stupidity is not determined by how much a person knows, rather, it evidences itself in a person’s actions.
I have been reading Proverbs this week and if there is a single theme that presents itself to us in the book’s opening chapters, then surely it is this:
“Wisdom is as wisdom does”
Listen carefully to the following statements from the early chapters of this remarkable book:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”(1:7)
Discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you, to deliver you from the way of evil…” (2:11&12)
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (3:7)
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” (3:27)
“Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live…” (4:4)
Among the Greeks, wisdom was highly prized. However, wisdom was nothing more to them than a futile pursuit for more knowledge which was also included in endless speculation and debate. By contrast, wisdom for the Jew was grounded in reality – in the nitty-gritty, everyday affairs of life. For the Jew, a wise man was seen by his actions. In short, wisdom is as wisdom does!
Certainly the passages quoted above make this line of reasoning abundantly clear. According to God, wisdom is not determined by how much a person knows – it is seen by how a person lives their life. From the above we glean the following profile of the truly wise person:
- He/She truly honours God (1:7)
- He/She welcomes advice and teaching (1:7)
- He/She deliberately shuns sin (2:11&12, 3:7)
- He/She does practical good for those who genuinely need it (3:27)
- He/She follows Godly advice (4:4)
Not a bad profile is it? And it is plain to see that wisdom evidences itself in the way a person acts.
“Wisdom is as wisdom does…”
….it’s worth thinking about!