A Word to the Wise

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 1:1-8

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (v. 5)

For the next two weeks, we will dig deep into the letter written by James, who introduces himself as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” James was a leader in the early church, and his letter was written as an encouragement to believers who were scattered around the Roman Empire. Even by today’s standards, it is a wise and practical letter. James often sounds like the writers of Old Testament Wisdom literature (Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes). James also sounds a lot like Jesus (see Matt. 7:7-11), probably because Jesus was his older half-brother. For pastoral wisdom about living the Christian life, you can’t beat James.

Today what passes for “wisdom” seems to be gathered and dispersed online. There’s a podcast or blog for everything now—from how someone overcame severe physical disabilities and climbed Mount Everest, to why dogs can understand quantum physics better than humans. And while the internet may have content worth sharing, I am not sure it all counts as true wisdom.

Wisdom is usually gained from experience, which is why older people are considered wiser than younger people. Yet James says that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God and God will give it to us! The key here is asking God, and trusting that God will answer. Just the act of asking is wisdom in itself!

—Susan Hetrick

Lord, grant us the wisdom to seek all of the answers in you.