Unhurried reflection is what separates the wise among us from the world around us. Is it becoming a more rare and less desirable virtue in our techno-speedy culture?
I think so. But while my observations are not necessarily rooted in scientific data there is encouraging news to us wisdom-seekers. The University of Chicago is currently undertaking six projects (funded by the Templeton Foundation) under the heading “Wisdom Research.” Even if wisdom no longer has the street value it deserves, scholars are cranking up their curiosity and investigating this attribute.
The Bible could help. Its wisdom literature—significantly anchored by the book of Proverbs—is a testimony to the importance God places on the children he loves cultivating wisdom for life.
Here’s what I know. Wisdom thrives on problem-solving. Anyone who fails to see the complex challenges facing families, teens, parents, pastors, educators and communities is spending too much time playing Candy Crush. We need wisdom and wisdom-seekers who wade into our problems with Bible in hand, accurately discerning current realities and carefully considering how the truth of God’s word can be applied to problem-solving.
When Willow Creek undertook a courageous self-study to assess how well they were developing fully committed disciples of Jesus Christ, they were chagrined to learn about how ineffective their considerable activity was in achieving their ultimate purpose (see Reveal). As they have pressed the question since being stunned by these original findings they have subsequently identified a single factor that matters most to our spiritual development: the frequency of reading and reflecting on Scripture as it applies to life.
The first psalm alerts us to the fact that those who “…delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night…are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (Ps 1:2-3) After offering Timothy three some metaphors for his ministry, the apostle Paul coaches his young protege to, “Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.” (2 Tim. 2:7)
Now, as always, unhurried reflection is what separates the wise among us from the world around us.