13 Are any of you wise and understanding? Show that your actions are good with a humble lifestyle that comes from wisdom. 14 However, if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, then stop bragging and living in ways that deny the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above. Instead, it is from the earth, natural and demonic. 16 Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and everything that is evil. 17 What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. 18 Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.
The wise are humble.
I remember graduating from college with a profound sense of how little I knew. I mean, my degree program prepared me well for my work as an engineer, but I still had this nagging sense that I had only scratched the surface. I’ve found this to be true whenever I’ve pursued anything seriously: guitar, construction, technology. When weighed in the balance, what you know is so much less than what there is to know.
Unfortunately, when I graduated from college, I was also 22. And, like many 22-year-olds, no one could tell me anything. I remember multiple occasions where my boss had to bail me out because I’d taken on a more senior colleague – sometimes even management – telling them exactly how wrong they were about something. I was lucky to have very patient managers who came to my defense.
So even though intellectually I knew there was so much more to learn, I wasn’t wise enough to let that knowledge humble me. Today, I am still often tempted to open my mouth and share my opinions, whether you’ve asked for them or not. If I’m honest, it happens much more than it probably should. I’m still a work in progress.
No matter how much we think we know, living according to the way of Jesus requires us to acknowledge what we don’t know – setting aside our arrogance for the true wisdom that comes when we embrace humility.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
When have you been humbled by what you don’t know? How has that experience kept you from becoming arrogant or boastful – or has it?
Prayer: God of all wisdom, Spirit of all knowledge, when we think we have all the answers, give us the humble heart of Jesus. Amen.